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Thursday May 26th 2022

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Health providers and community development organizations invited to work with Back Yard community

Health providers and community development organizations invited to work with Back Yard community

By Janice Barbee, Cultural Wellness Center Looking back over the activities and accomplishments of 2010, the partners of the Backyard Initiative have a lot to celebrate. The residents of the Backyard (Phillips, Powderhorn Park, Central, and Corcoran) and Allina Hospitals and Clinics are creating a new kind of partnership to improve the health of the community. On December 10, the Cultural Wellness Center and Allina hosted a breakfast for CHAT members and other guests to learn about the Backyard Initiative and meet Dr. David Kindig, Emeritus Professor of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Medicine. Dr. Kendig shared Hennepin County”'s scores from the County Health Rankings which ranks the overall health of every county in the U.S. (available on www.countyhealthrankings.org). The report, released by the University of Wisconsin”'s Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is the first of its kind to measure the state of health of a county based on health measures and other key factors that affect health, such as smoking, obesity, binge drinking, access to primary care providers, rates of high school graduation, rates of violent crime, air pollution levels, liquor store density, unemployment rates and number of children living in poverty. A list of such measures, chosen by community residents, could be a tool to help the Backyard residents assess the health of the Backyard community. Marcus Thygeson, MD, president of the Center for Healthcare Innovation at Allina Hospitals & Clinics (the Backyard Initiative is an initiative of this Center) spoke about the need for a “new frontier” of corporate and community partnership. This partnership is not the traditional “we will help you” model, but listens to the community”'s voice, ideas, and self-interests. It”'s not about Allina being the experts or knowing best ”“ it”'s about honoring [...]

An urban first home for roots, commitment, and creativity A Community Investment

An urban first home for roots, commitment, and  creativity A Community Investment

by Lotus Lofgren In all, we looked at over one hundred properties. Every weekend we would create etch-a-sketch lines across town, peering in broken windows, walking through abandoned yards where the grass grew past my knees, and sheepishly apologizing to current renters as we disrupted their day, tiptoed around their child”'s play things and wondered where they would go once someone bought the place. The houses held stories, old stories that we would never know, and others more recent and potent; an orange home that had suffered years at the hands of absentee landlords, been foreclosed on and left its tenants homeless. They scrawled their anger on the lime green walls, words written with human feces and punctuated with urine, a two story white house with all of the upper unit windows blown out from a grease fire in the kitchen. I won”'t forget the charred women”'s shoes, still hanging on a rack attached to half a closet door. A yellow house where the previous owners-- enraged at the bank that took their home from them, the same bank now trying to sell the house-- had hidden a package of spareribs under the cupboards, months ago, and the smell of rotting flesh permeated the drywall. The bank didn”'t even try to clean it up. (more…)

“Thoughts From Powderhorn Lake”

by Peter Molenaar At every mid-month, contributors to The Alley are pressed into duty (or are otherwise moved by a profound love). Consequently, this writer missed ice-out day at Powderhorn””so be it. Now, at mid-April, a nice start towards a summer tan has been achieved thanks to the early spring warm-up. Folks who descend each year to feed ducks and geese are greeted as well by the raucous demands of visiting gulls””intelligent birds who speak directly. Having satisfied them, a small group formed next to me upon the concrete ledge which holds the shore line. I was awe-struck. Gulls are utterly handsome and exquisitely evolved birds. Sensing my new-found admiration, in unison they turned to display the V formed by their black trim tail feathers. I had been invited to join the flock. Question: Does an early spring coupled with a cold winter mean that the global warming disbelievers club can have its cake and eat it too? It was supposed to have been a warm El Nino winter. Right? What happened to the associated upper air current which normally then restricts the Arctic air mass to the north of us? Contrary to expectations, we endured the usual infusions of cold air which press south across mid-continent all the way to Texas. Hey, it felt like global cooling to me. Actually, no one wants to believe in global warming. However, the El Nino effect, associated with the upwelling of warm Pacific water at the equator, has been over-ruled by a new phenomenon induced by global warming (sorry). Specifically, the body of North Pacific water found west of Alaska has begun to heat up. The resulting updraft of warm air will now constrict the annual accumulation of winter Arctic air such that it must spread out to the south across land. Hence, El Nino will be over-powered. The kicker is this: Given the fact of global warming, our Arctic air when pressed to southern latitudes will heat more rapidly thus hastening the arrival of spring””not all [...]

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