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Tales from the Cemetery: FAQs

Tales from the Cemetery: FAQs

The fish were biting at Cedar and Lake. Twenty-first century kids had the opportunity to play 19th-century games. Photo credit: Tim McCall By SUE HUNTER WEIR Frequently Asked Questions The answers to most, if not all of these questions have appeared in one of the Cemetery Tales that have been published over the last almost-20 years. Here they are all in one place. When was the first burial? Who was it? The first burial took place in September 1853. The funeral was for 10-month old Carlton Keith Cressey. His father was the minister of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis. Who owned the cemetery? The cemetery was privately owned by Martin and Elizabeth Layman, transplanted New Yorkers. They arrived in Minnesota in the 1850s and built the sixth house in what would become Minneapolis. They had 13 children, all of whom survived to adulthood. Although the cemetery was commonly referred to as “Layman’s Cemetery,” its legal name in its early days was Minneapolis Cemetery. Who owns the cemetery now? Between 1853 and 1919, more than 27,000 people were buried in the cemetery. It was full and no longer profitable. It was poorly maintained and local residents and merchants petitioned the City Council to close the cemetery. They voted to close it to future burials. Although they were not required to, families disinterred the remains of about 5,000 relatives and moved them to other cemeteries. In 1925, concerned citizens began a letter writing campaign and the state legislature approved a bonding bill that enabled the City of Minneapolis to buy out the interests of the Layman family heirs. When that transaction was completed, the name was changed from Layman’s or Minneapolis Cemetery to Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery. The City currently maintains the cemetery and owns the 5,000 empty graves and the physical structures (cottage, flagpole, fence, etc.). Occupied graves remain the property of family members. When was [...]

Tale of the Tales: Q&A with Sue Hunter Weir

Tale of the Tales: Q&A with Sue Hunter Weir

Caption: Anna ClarkCredit: Courtesy of Bob Clark By LAURA HULSCHER and SUE HUNTER WEIR This is your 200th column. How long have you been writing Tales from Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery? What inspired you to start? I wrote my first story about the cemetery in September 2003. At the time I was concerned (irritated) about the Phillips Neighborhood being characterized as "crime-ridden" and wanted to remind people that Phillips is a community with a long and very rich history. Ours is a community shaped by migration, immigration, the need for public housing and for livable-wage jobs. Our boundaries were, and are, shaped by transportation routes. Much has changed but much remains the same. We have a great deal to be proud of. What motivates you to continue the series after so many years? I remember reading that no one is truly dead who is remembered. I believe that and these stories are my way of remembering people who I never knew but who deserve to be remembered. They are the people who built this City. I have written about 200 people so far and have many thousands left to go. Stay tuned. If you could meet one cemetery resident you have written about, who would it be? If I could meet one of the people I've written about, it would be Anna Clark. Anna was one of the first people I found and hers is one of the most heartbreaking stories I've ever read. She was a poet and she was beautiful. She gave birth to 16 children, only eight of whom survived. When she was 53, and widowed, she committed suicide in the Cemetery because as she put it, the "sorrow and agony in my heart is too great to bear." There is nothing that I could do to change that but I could at least give her a hug and let her know that she has not been forgotten.

Interview With Musician Andrew Naranjo

Interview With Musician Andrew Naranjo

Backyard concert for friends and family with the yet-to-be-named band / all photos by Francisco Naranjo Andrew during a live performance at a local church Andrew with a djembe drum in Peavey Park By MARY ELLEN KALUZA I first heard drumming emanating from Andrew’s house last year. I’ve been able to track his progress through the walls and am greatly impressed. It is clear he loves drumming! Over the four years his family has lived across the street, I’ve come to know Andrew as a very cool and interesting person. I really appreciate the breadth of his interests. How old are you? What grade are you in? I’m 11 and going into 6th grade. Describe your art or interests. Drumming and soccer. What inspired you to take up drumming? When did you start? I saw people doing it on music videos and at church. It looked cool, so I’m trying it out. I started a year ago. I love it. When I play drums it makes me feel happy, and you can do whatever you want. And soccer? There’s a soccer team at my school. I wanted to try it out starting in kindergarten. I like playing it because I have a lot of friends in it who encourage me when I'm playing. It's fun but it's very hard work. Soccer is over now, but we will start again when school starts. We play in Peavey Park and at my house. Do you have a favorite place you like to practice drums? My drum set is in the basement, so that’s where I play. We have a band with my cousin, my mom and my sister. We practice in the basement. We try to do it 2 times a week when it isn't so busy, like with school. Is there a type of music you like to play? I like to play any kind of music. Rock and Pop. I like to listen to music with drums. Do you have favorite musicians? TobyMac and For King & Country. And soccer? I look up to Javier Hernández with LA Galaxy, Lionel Messi with Paris Saint-Germain F.C., and Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal National Football Team. I watch a lot of [...]

Artist Interview With Sha’Vontie Rose Juneau Jackson Hosfield

Artist Interview With Sha’Vontie Rose Juneau Jackson Hosfield

Youth Performance Company production of Ruby: The Ruby Bridges Story in February/March 2020. Cast is performing the song When the Saints Go Marching In. Sha'Vontie on the right.Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Youth Performance Company Sha’Vontie recording a song with her cousins in summer of 2021.Photo credit: Janelle Hosfield By MARY ELLEN KALUZA Sha’Vontie lives a few blocks away and she often walks by with her dad to visit her cousins near me. She always has a cheerful greeting when she passes. Makes me smile. Last summer I was invited to the cousins’ backyard for a concert the kids were putting on. That’s where I first saw Sha’Vontie sing and play piano. I was very impressed with her poise and confidence on the stage, on top of her lovely voice. I had no idea I only saw a fraction of her many talents and interests until we met for this interview. How old are you? What grade are you in? I’m 11 and in 5th grade Describe your main art form(s). I like to sing and dance - dancing first, then singing. And sometimes I like to play piano. I practice it every day and take lessons because adults told me I would be happy I did later on, so I do. What inspired you to dance and sing? I think I’ve always done it. We have videos of me dancing at 3 and 4 years old. There are stories of me dancing at 13 months. My mom sang to me when I was little, and my mom got her voice from her mom. Do you have a favorite place you like to sing or play music? Everywhere! Church, school, with my friend Caleb - we sing all the time. Is there a type of music you especially like to sing or play? Hip Hop and Pop. I like to play hard stuff on the piano. Is there a singer or musician that you particularly admire? Yes! I like Dua Lipa, Demi Lovato and Flo Rida. I love music videos, especially BTS and Zendaya. Do you have a mentor or teacher? I have a piano teacher, Christa Lachell. And I am part of a youth choir called Known. The [...]

Interview With Local Artist Orren Fen

Interview With Local Artist Orren Fen

by Mary Ellen Kaluza Last month the alley debuted a new feature highlighting young artists in Phillips. Within moments of having the idea of a regular featured artist, I knew I had to talk with Orren Fen. I first met Orren a few years ago, in pre-COVID times. I was visiting their home and they showed me a project they were working on: a puppet stage made out of cardboard, maybe 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. I was blown away by the clever design, the creativity, the engineering — both structural and mechanical. Orren explained all the parts, moving and stationary, in great detail. Like I said, I was blown away! Lucky for us, Orren graciously agreed to be interviewed for the alley. How old are you? What grade are you in? Fourteen, and I'm a freshman in high school. Describe your main art form. I focus mostly on puppetry and performance art. What inspired you to take up your art? I grew up two blocks from In the Heart of the Beast Theatre, and participated in the May Day parades since I was two years old. It's always been part of my life. I've also participated in BareBones Halloween Extravaganza since a young age. Where do you get your ideas? I have a lot of random creative ideas that pop up. Sometimes I delve into them, and sometimes I keep them tucked in the corners of my mind. Do you have a mentor or teacher? I grew up with Mark Safford, a puppeteer who has been a mentor to me through BareBones. And Harry Waters, Jr., a person I met through the May Day ceremony, and more recently I have worked with Harry on multiple theater projects. Are there other art forms you want to try? I really enjoy puppetry because it is a very fluid and adaptive art form that involves so many other art forms – painting, sculpting, acting, sewing. What other interests do you have? I'm very interested in costume and set design. I'm also very interested in the behind-the-scenes aspects of theater, but puppetry is a very good way to be involved [...]

Interview with Local Artist Noelle

Interview with Local Artist Noelle

By MARY ELLEN KALUZA Late last summer my 19 year old cat died and I was sad. I told my neighbors and their four children about it. They were sad for me. One day the young neighbors came over with something to help cheer me up. They gave me beautiful paintings of things they knew I liked: butterflies, bees, flowers. And fairies. (I had been asked the previous week if I liked fairies. I replied incredulously, “Who doesn't like fairies?!”) Noelle and her siblings were taking art classes online at the time – a COVID inspired pastime. Besides being very touched by their kindness, I was immensely impressed with the paintings, which then inspired this new feature in the alley highlighting young artists in our Phillips Community. Noelle's creations that were gifted to me are featured here. I recently sat down with Noelle at her home to ask her about her art and herself. And, I had the great fortune to see several more of Noelle's paintings while we talked – all beautiful! How old are you, Noelle? What grade are you in? I'm eight years old and in 2nd grade. Describe your art? What do you like to do primarily? I usually do paintings and sometimes drawings. What inspired you to start painting and drawing? Frida Kahlo, and our friend Mac from church. He's an artist who does comics and illustrates them. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist . How did you learn about her? My dad is from Mexico, maybe from him. Or, a book at my school Emerson. What do you like about Frida Kahlo or her painting? I like that she's Mexican. And she drew herself in a mirror. You and your family have traveled to Mexico. Have you visited Frida Kahlo's home, the Blue House, la Casa Azul? Not yet. I want to go. Maybe in a couple of years. Do you have a mentor or teacher? Miss Patty. Sometimes on video and sometimes on Zoom. She has a website. Where do you get your ideas? From around my house – like that plant , the ukuleles , flowers, things [...]

Challenging Responsibility part two

Interview with Amy Koehnen of Ebenezer Senior Living, Part Two By DWIGHT HOBBES Ebenezer holds fast against COVID-19, operating its business of caring for people with exactly that – care. The alley concludes its conversation with Amy Koehnen, Minneapolis Campus Administrator. You have your hands at the wheel. I personally believe in being professionally hands-on. Early on, I went to each site, seven days a week. I keep my fingers in it. No sooner did things become reasonably manageable than the Omicron variant arrived. How do you cope with the curve balls this virus throws us? We made sure staff were vaccinated or given an approved accommodation. Otherwise they couldn’t be employed at Ebenezer sites. Every weekday at 9, 9:30 we do calls to pass along information, ask questions. February 24, the Minneapolis rescinded mask requirements. Except for city owned or managed buildings. Where did that leave Ebenezer? March 13, Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency. The Department of Motor Vehicles was open, the day before, when my son got his driver’s license, it was terrible. Human beings were coughing all over each other. Ebenezer had our assisted living and nursing homes shut and lock their doors. Signs said, “No visitors.” It made you want to cry. I can’t count the twists and turns, the different directives we were given. Between the Minnesota Department of Health, Center for Disease Control, Center for Medicaid and Medicare, World Health Organization we have many bosses who tell us what to do. The Ebenezer leadership team gathered all that information, giving it to us and my job was to give it to the staff. Speaking of leadership, it seems corporation CEO isn’t just a high placed suit, but rather cares about people. Absolutely. The mission we have is not just written on paper. John Lundberg and the leadership team genuinely emulate that. Which flows down to the people I work with. Dignity, compassion, innovation. [...]

Challenging Responsibility

Interview with Amy Koehnen of Ebenezer Senior Living, Part One Editors note: When this article was first published online we incorrectly stated that if you are unvaccinated you can work at Ebenezer. This error has been corrected. By DWIGHT HOBBES The corona virus contagion threw South Minneapolis businesses for a loop.  Those that haven’t closed are fighting to hold on.  On top of which the highly contagious Omicron variant continues spreading across the country, eclipsing those fueled by the Delta variant over last summer: businesses are  far from full strength.  "There are many places in the country where hospitalizations now are increasing," Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN in December.  As of January, the rate of infections in Hennepin County is “very high”, according to the New York Times. Ebenezer shoulders the unenviable responsibility to not only stay in business – after all, the bottom line is the bottom line – but continue providing invaluable human services, for tenants and residents the most  highly at risk Ebenezer Park Apartments and Ebenezer Tower Apartments (senior housing), Ebenezer Loren On Park (assisted living) and Ebenezer Care Center (nursing home). As of January 6, Ebenezer complies with the City of Minneapolis’ reinstated mask mandate.  On top of which, if you’re not vaccinated, you can't work at Ebenezer.  Amy Koehnen, Minneapolis Campus Administrator spoke with The Alley about meeting the challenges these past couple years. Yours is no easy job. It isn’t. But, I have  experience. Twenty-seven years in the profession, doing this type of work. For good measure, you oversee a fifth site. The University of Minnesota Transitional Care Unit. It is on the west bank and is connected to the Acute Rehab also at the University of Minnesota. It is licensed as a skilled nursing facility so I am the administrator of record. Although they do [...]

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