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Tributary Reading Series meets monthly at Selam Coffee

Posted on 25 February 2019 by calvin

The sounding call of the Tributary Reading Series is simple: “Love your neighbor. Drink Coffee. Dig poetry.” Created by Minneapolis poet and performer Ted King and hosted by the owners of Selam Coffee, the gathering happens on the first Saturday of each month starting at 1pm.

Photo right: Poet Mari Moore read from recently published work. Her honors include a Bush Artist Fellowship, multiple McKnight Artist Fellowships, The Loft Creative Non-Fiction Award, and numerous residencies. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Saxophonist David Erickson begins playing and improvising on those days at noon. Audience members trickle in by ones and twos; every month, according to King, “It’s standing room only. With this kind of reading, it’s all about the audience. Everyone should feel welcome.” The event is exactly what it’s billed as—an enjoyable, politically charged, power-hour in a cozy coffee shop.

King is the curator of the Tributary Reading Series. “I was recovering from a serious illness a couple of years ago,” he said. “I was homebound and bored. I’m a poet and a performer. I couldn’t get around much at that time, but I thought I could put together a poetry reading series. If I organized it, I could pick all the ways that would make it easy for me to participate.”

Photo left: Curator Ted King chose to call this gathering the Tributary Reading Series because, he said, “A tributary doesn’t start in the main stream!” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“Readings are almost always at night, but I wanted this one to be during the day,” King added. “Originally we met at the Lake Coffee House, until the owner lost his lease. I approached the owners of Selam Coffee a few months ago, to see if they were willing to host us—and they were. They provide us with a great space, and our series has brought them a lot of new customers. It’s a wonderful connection. The professional poets who participate say that it’s their favorite event in the metro, and they can’t wait to be invited back to read again.”

Photo right: Audience member Patrick Murphy, said, “I’m a closeted poet. I love coming to these readings, to listen to the poetry and for the sense of community. Ted King? He’s an old hipster—his funkiness runs deep.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

St. Paul poet Christine Jaspers brought her three young daughters to the February event, and said, “Almost everyone who comes to these readings is a writer.” Jasper’s ten-year-old daughter, Claire, read “The Summer Day” by American poet Mary Oliver, who recently passed away.

Selam Coffee is located at 3860 Minnehaha Ave., and can be reached at 612-722-2768.




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LoLa sponsors first-ever fine art exhibit at Squirrel Haus Arts

Posted on 23 January 2018 by calvin

The public is invited to the first-ever fine art exhibition put on by The League of Longfellow Artists (LoLa), planned for mid-February at Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Ave. The opening is planned for Thur., Feb. 15, 6-9pm and will include food and beverages sponsored by businesses that support LoLa. The show can also be seen during gallery hours, Sat. and Sun., Feb. 17-18, noon-5pm.

“The Winter Fine Art Exhibition” will present the work of member artists in a gallery format, with one to three pieces for each participating artist. The show is being organized by LoLa volunteers, and the gallery hours will also be staffed by LoLa artists and volunteers. A wide range of media will be displayed, including painting, photography, printmaking, mosaic, collage, jewelry, and sculpture. Most artists will be at the reception to give the public an opportunity to meet the creators and ask any questions their works provoke in this centralized and intimate location.

This exhibition is a different format from LoLa’s September neighborhood art crawl, which is more of a sales event with each artist presenting a wide range of their work from their home, studio, or at a hosted location in the neighborhood.

“Squirrel Haus owners Michael and Donna Meyer have been great supporters of LoLa since they moved to the neighborhood in 2015. We love the support and energy they are bringing to the arts in our neighborhood,” said LoLa representative Megan Moore Smith.

Photo right: Nadine Mercil Corazon, “Solitario, no.4.” (Photo provided)


Image left: Jewelry by Teresea Chillingworth. (Photo provided)








Image right: “Untitled Red and Brown” by Lisa Anderson. (Photo provided)







Image left: Molly Keenan’s “Dreaming MN Timberwolf.” (Photo provided)









Image right: “Dancing with Raven Spirit” by Gordon Coons. (Photo provided)









Image right: “Still Life with Box Elders” by Megan Moore. (Photo provided)









Image right: “MN Love” by Karen Grimm. (Photo provided)

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Ninth annual LoLa Art Crawl scheduled Sept. 16-17

Posted on 29 August 2017 by calvin

The League of Longfellow Artists (LoLa) invites the public to visit with and buy directly from artists and makers in this South Minneapolis neighborhood by the river known for its classic bungalows and natural beauty, during the 9th annual LoLa Art Crawl on the weekend of Sept. 16–17, 10am to 5pm both days.

In this year’s crawl, 103 artists will be showcasing their work at 63 sites, including artists’ own homes, unique independent shops, cafés, and bistros. Directories with maps are available at, at businesses throughout the

Longfellow neighborhood in September, and from participating artists during the crawl.
The self-guided tour is free and spread out over two days to allow visitors to enjoy and shop for locally created fine art and crafts at their own pace, with opportunities for food and refreshment at our independent cafés and bistros, many of which have pitched in to support LoLa with their sponsorships.

Part of the fun of the LoLa Art Crawl is meeting artists in a low-key setting and talking with them about their work.

More information about the LoLa art crawl and artists is available at

LOLA16r_wicklundPhoto right: Rebecca Wicklund, Site 24—3347 42nd Ave. S. I’m a jewelry artist, and I’ve participated in the LOLA Art Crawl since its inception. It’s been so wonderful to have the perennial support of the Longfellow neighborhood—and a fun way to get to know more people in the community. I’ll be located at Flourish Pilates again this year with my sister, Beth Wicklund, who creates letterpress cards.

Gwen_PartinPhoto right: Gwen Partin, Site 14—3154 33rd Ave. S. My drawings, prints, and paintings are explorations of pattern, texture, color and the juxtaposition of these in shape and space. The work is mainly abstract but references textile design and things seen in nature. In my daily drawing practice I call My Daily Papers, I complete at least one drawing or painting a day. My prints are monotypes, a painterly way of printmaking where I use an etching press. I use rollers and brushes to apply ink to a plexiglass plate and often make hand cut paper stencils that become part of the finished work.

Bob_SchmittPhoto left: Bob Schmitt, Site 62—Laughing Waters Studio, 3718 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. Chinese calligraphy and painting. Zen one-stroke paintings. Originals, prints, cards, scrolls. A Chinese brush with a Minnesota spirit. Daily drawing for $50 gift card. Walk the meditation garden.



LisaArnoldPhoto right: Lisa Arnold, Site 47—Fireroast Cafe, 3800 37th Ave. S. I’m Lisa Arnold, xola arts. I’m a mosaicist and teaching artist, specializing in stained glass and glass beads. I’ve lived in Longfellow for 20 years. I’ve been a LOLA artist from the beginning. The best part of LOLA is talking to new people, seeing old friends, and getting the chance to make connections with both artists and art lovers.




Megan_MoorePhoto left: Megan Moore, Site 8—3712 E. 29th St. Original oil and watercolor paintings, giclée prints, cards, calendars, books. Megan has been showing her work in the LoLa Art Crawl since 2010. You may have seen her work as public art along the Midtown Greenway on electrical boxes.

Presley_MartinPhoto right: Presley Martin, Site 13—3129 31st Ave. S. Presley Martin’s “The Foam Project” takes a close look at foam from the Mississippi River. Through sculpture, ceramics, and photography this common material is presented in new, unexpected ways.

CrayzikatHardwareNecklacesPhoto left: Kathy Jensen, Site 45—Riverview Café, 3753 42nd Ave. S. Crayzikat Jewelry works to stand out in the sea of jewelry artists by offering interesting, unique, affordable pieces. Examples include eye-catching necklaces and earrings made from hardware store parts and sterling silver earrings in a variety of shapes that allow you to change the beads for a different look. This is the fourth year Jensen’s jewelry has been featured in LoLa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto right: Julie Meyer, Site 20—3212 43rd Ave. S. With a desire for quality functional items and a passion for creating, Julie Meyer Handbags offer you an everyday bag showing off your individuality. Locally sourced cowhide and leather bags made in Longfellow and sold worldwide.






Jean_Bushey_2Photo left: Jean Bushey, Site 60–4524 35th Ave. S. Beadwork is my medium of choice. I learned to do fine bead knotting while working at Hedstrom Jewelers on 27th and Lake almost forty years ago. I still have beads I bought from dealers at that time. My love of the tiniest of beads and sewing skills drew me to bead weaving. Being part of LoLa and being able to welcome neighbors into my home where I can display my work is a wonderful opportunity for me.

Cherie Rinehart-BurkePhoto right: Cherie Rinehart-Burke, Site 38—4729 Isabel Ave. I’ve worked to hone my painting with a focus on oil, acrylic and watercolor pencils. Making jewelry is incredibly satisfying and fun too. I love scouring thrift stores and garage sales which enable me to create wonderful mosaic bird baths, birdhouses, mirrors and picture frames.





Blake_NellisPhoto left: Blake Nellis, Site 9—Forage Modern Workshop, 4023 E. Lake St. I am a fine art photographer specializing in portraits and weddings (and taking photos of my new baby girl!) I love candid moments and working with the human form.



Ann_OpatzPhoto right: Ann Opatz, Site 38—4729 Isabel Ave. Mittens and slippers made from recycled wool and fabric napkins and pillowcases.



Photo left: Karen Grimm, Site 51—3845 36th Ave. S. Karen’s ReKreations specializes in creating beautiful and practical treasures out of found and commonly discarded items. This year focusing on home decor, gifts, foraged preserves, and garden art!


 ila_duntemannPhoto right: Mary Ila Duntemann, Site 17—3231 36th Ave. S. Handmade glass beads!








SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto left: Jinjer Markley, Site 13—3129 31st Ave. S. In 2016, Jinjer Markley decided to weave the creative thread that has run through her life into an illustration career. She is starting out with a bang—the LOLA art crawl follows two solo shows, one at Riverview Cafe, and one at ArtPlayce in St. Paul. The drawings and paintings from her recent Instagram project: 100 Days of Colorful Flowers will be in her studio for the LOLA art crawl. Besides drawing, Jinjer loves the magic of making things by hand and will have a selection of her handmade felt chickens at the crawl.



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District-wide meeting for immigrant families held at South High

Posted on 27 March 2017 by calvin

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) held a meeting at South High School on March 1 to address the concerns of immigrant and refugee students and their families. According to MPS Superintendent Ed Graff, the district began making plans for the meeting when President Trump’s executive order/travel ban was first announced. “We want students and their families to know that they are welcome here,” Graff said.

Graff explained that ”more than 100 languages are spoken by students in our district, and one in four students is an English language learner here. We pride ourselves on our diversity at MPS.”

Amy Moore, Chief Legal Counsel for the school district, responded to fears that students would be questioned by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on school grounds. “If ICE officers come to any MPS building looking for students they believe are undocumented,” Moore said, “they will be directed to my office. They must have a properly executed warrant signed by a judge to enter a school. We will contact parents if there is any ICE activity or inquiry about their child or children. As of today, representatives from the St. Paul-based office of ICE stated that they have no intention of entering our schools.”

South High Family Meeting 36Photo right: (L to R) Marco Murrieta and Bisharo Yussef of Water Course Counseling, an in-school provider of culturally focused mental health counseling; Julie Young-Burns, MPS Social Emotional Learning Coordinator. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“In terms of data,” Moore emphasized, “MPS collects nothing related to immigration status. If parents are concerned about any of their child’s demographic information being made public, they can complete a ‘Directory Opt-Out’ form available in every school office.”

What exactly is ICE and what do they do?

ICE was created within the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, in the aftermath of the events of 911. It employs more than 20,000 people and has a presence in all 50 states and 48 foreign countries. ICE enforces both immigration and customs laws which, according to its website, involves going after illegal immigrants in the US and its territories, employers who hire illegal immigrants, and those trying to smuggle illegal goods or contraband into this country.

South High Family Meeting 10Photo left: MPS Board Member Siad Ali received generous applause for his comment, “We love you, and we are determined to look after the wellbeing of your children.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

In the 14 years since it was created, ICE has been the subject of numerous controversies over its handling of illegal immigrants.

John Keller, Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, said, “The US Constitution is a powerful, enduring document which protects us in our schools, homes, and places of business.”

The organization he heads is Minnesota’s largest provider of free services to immigrants, and he has had a front row seat to immigration protocol since becoming the director in 2005. “We have seen a radical change in the way immigration enforcement is being carried out with the new administration, as well as a substantial increase in the number of new ICE hires,” Keller said.

He stressed to families that there are only two ways law enforcement officers of any kind can legally enter a home: if they have a properly executed warrant signed by a judge, or if they are invited in. If ICE agents are invited in, they may question anyone in the home—not just the person they inquired about at the door.

To the second point, Keller said, “All persons in this country, whether they are documented or undocumented, have rights. Those rights include denying access to your home to a law enforcement officer not in possession of a warrant, the right to remain silent, and the right to a phone call to your attorney if you are detained.”

Along with rights, come responsibilities. At one of the resource tables in the foyer, wallet-sized, four-fold safety planning cards were handed out to families. Listed responsibilities included:
• If you are detained or arrested, stay calm and be polite
• Do not lie or give false documents
• Make a family preparedness plan in advance
• Remember the details of your arrest or encounter, and write them down

According to Keller, “The average length of a deportation process in Minnesota is 2½ years from beginning to end.”

“If you are arrested or detained, don’t panic,” Keller counseled. “There are resources in the community, such as the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota and the Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s Immigrant Law Project that can help. Deportation is a long, slow process.”

Keller also encouraged families to have a “check-up” with an immigration services provider (such as the organizations listed above) in advance of any problems. “The staff of these organizations can offer guidance about immigration status and next steps, help make a child care and family preparedness plan, and advise which documents you should or should not carry with you,” Keller said.

Other organizations present at the event included CAIR-MN (the Council on American-Islamic Relations), NAVIGATE (help for families anticipating a separation), and the Somali American Parent Association.

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City testing floating catchment to stop trash from entering lake

Posted on 23 August 2016 by calvin

Staff will evaluate pilot project after eight weeks to see if it is helping Lake Hiawatha reduce its drainage debris

Will a floating yellow curtain help with the trash problem at Lake Hiawatha? The city has embarked on an eight-week pilot program to answer that question.

City_trash curtainThe litter catchment (Photo left) was installed near the city’s stormwater drain on Aug. 8. Following the first major rain storm on Thursday of that first week, it broke from its moorings and released trash back into the lake.

“It is understandable that after a big storm like that one with 3 inches of rain, the first test of the catchment should fail,” remarked neighborhood resident Sean Connaughty, who has been pushing for a catchment at the stormwater drain for two years. “But still, it was very disappointing to see the lake again full of garbage after the expectation of a reprieve. So, it remains to be seen whether or not this temporary catchment can be effective.”

trash curtain collapsesPhoto right: Within a few days of being installed, the trash curtain came unmoored following a heavy rain. (Photo submitted)

Trash collected once a week
City crews plan to visit the site to remove trash about once a week during the eight-week pilot project. Crews will note the following during each site visit:
• Amount of trash collected
• Dominant trash types (bottles, plastic bags, etc.)
• Trash in the vicinity, or visible in lake, not caught by the curtain
• Flow coming from the outlet (slow, moderate, fast)
• Recent precipitation events
• Condition of the curtain

“The pilot project was initiated partly in response to requests from citizens concerned about trash in the lake,” observed Minneapolis Surface Water and Sewers Director Katrina Kessler. In the first week following the installation, she received a number of positive comments about the project from citizens.

“I’m really happy that the city is listening and working to change the situation at Lake Hiawatha. The amount of debris and pollution that comes off our streets and goes directly into the lake is astounding,” said Ryan Seibold of the Friends of Lake Hiawatha. “We have to be better caretakers here, as this spot is like a sanctuary for an abundance of animals and waterfowl, many of which are migratory.”

Seibold added, “A lot of credit goes to Council Member Andrew Johnson for pushing for the temporary mitigation and working with Public Works, and to Sean Connaughty for convincing the city that a major source of the pollution is coming from the north end storm sewer that drains the neighborhoods to the north, a very urbanized subwatershed of Minnehaha Creek.”

“This shows that the city and parks finally recognize and acknowledge the seriousness of the problems this storm sewer is causing in the lake,” stated Connaughty. Last summer Connaughty collected over 60 bags of trash from the lake while walking with his dog.

Friends gear up
During this year’s Minnehaha Creek Watershed Clean-up in July, over 5 tons of trash was collected—a record amount. As the creek flows through Lake Hiawatha, it was included as part of the clean-up. The Friends of Lake Hiawatha gathered petition signatures for a mitigation solution during the clean-up.

“In September we will be gearing up for some more projects and looking for more members from the community to join us,” said Seibold. “A lot remains to be solved with regards to pollution issues within the watershed, groundwater pumping from Hiawatha Golf Course, and future flood mitigation and ecological planning. The landscape could be more absorptive and resilient than it is today.” More at

Long-term, Johnson has been pushing for a trash-grid chamber and other mitigation infrastructure to improve water quality, such as open wetland filters, but these efforts have been delayed by the groundwater pumping situation that came to light. “Until this is resolved, I hope this temporary catchment proves an effective solution to reducing pollution,” said Johnson.

“It’s discouraging to see ducks eating plastic bits of refuse, but we’re moving in the right direction,” said Seibold.

Seibold is excited that the voices of a few passionate people are bringing about change. He points out that even though it’s a small lake, it’s connected to so much more, and affects the health of water and wildlife down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

Adopt a storm drain
“I want to be sure to emphasize that the pilot project will not solve the trash problem,” stated Kessler. “Trash is the result of human behavior. It is especially important that people concerned about the lake be vigilant about picking up after themselves and encourage their neighbors and local businesses to do the same.”

One specific way people can help is by participation in the city’s new Adopt a Storm Drain program. Sign up for the program and commit to clearing leaves and trash from it regularly. If you notice that the device beneath the grate has material in it, don’t try to remove the grate—call 311 and a Minneapolis Sewer Maintenance crew will come out to clean it.

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Former Messenger columnist publishes new book

Posted on 24 February 2016 by calvin

Sherri Donovan Moore writes fictional novel, “You’ll Be Nothing Without Me”


Sheri Donovan MoorePoised with a cup of tea with cream in hand at Merlin’s Rest, Sherri Donovan Moore sits at ease discussing her life’s unexpected roads and alleyways.

“[My] third career is as a writer, and I love it.”

If you think you might recognize the name, it’s because you likely do. Donovan Moore was the author of the flagship monthly column, “The Old White House,” her first paid writing gig that appeared in the Longfellow NokoMessengermis  for nearly 15 years.

The column focused on Donovan Moore’s single-handed feat (with the help of her less-than-handy but helpful husband and some contractors) to renovate her old south Minneapolis home from top to bottom.

“We painted the entire interior, did major work on the furnace…put in a wood burning fireplace, knocked down the wall, changed all the lighting fixtures – stripped all woodwork on the first floor … We only have one room left: the master bedroom.”

She even flipped houses for a few years with her son. But now, the days of writing about her old, white house (in which she still lives) has turned into a full fledge career for the south Minneapolis resident who calls Lake Hiawatha home.

But Donovan Moore hadn’t always realized she was a writer. Before her writing career took off, she worked in sales. It wasn’t until she took a writing class while she was in college for her Bachelor’s in sales and marketing where her fun past time seemed to have the potential to turn into something else.

“My mother always told me I had an active imagination—she lived long enough to see my writing in the columns, but never anything [more]. When I found this writer’s group it was like I finally belonged somewhere,” said Donovan Moore.

Up until now, the Messenger column and a few contest entries were the extent of her published writing. But her active imagination never ceased, calling her to a new adventure as a published novelist.

“The story has been with me for so long…I started writing the book in 2006. I worked for 3M for five years and survived four layoffs, but the fifth one got me. The women in my writing group asked me, ‘when are you going to turn your book over and let me edit?’”

Eventually, she did. Donovan Moore’s first self-published book, “You’ll Be Nothing Without Me,” is a fictional work taking place in the Como neighborhood of St. Paul. It tells the story of Kiki Halloran, an Irish Catholic woman in her early 30s who decides to change her complacent marriage and take charge of her life. The story covers four years through marriage, separation and the new life she creates for herself and her son.

“This woman is pushing herself forward to live exactly how she wants,” said Donovan Moore, “she redesigns herself, her house, and works on a new career.”

Donovan Moore says the idea for the book came from all of her friends’ divorces in the 1980s, mixed in with some love and drama she says she would have liked to have had at the time. Donovan Moore says she sees a lot of herself in Kiki, as at one time she was a divorced, single mother looking for a fresh start.

“For several years when I was young, I gave that power away to my first husband,” said the author. “You have to decide what you want and then go about planning to get it. When getting a divorce, plan so you’re not taken by surprise.”

Donovan Moore credits Barbara Taylor Bradford’s book, “A Woman of Substance,” as an inspiration for her personally, as the main character’s independence taught her that she too can be an independent woman.

“She was absolutely independent and running her own life. I thought, hell, if she can do it, I can do it.”

She also credits writers such as Erin Hart, and local authors Lorna Landvik, Susan Schussler and Patty Janes as other inspiring authors.

Donovan Moore is currently working on her second book, which will be a continuation of her first, based in South Minneapolis and Ireland where Kiki explores the idea of marriage once again.

“What I want women to take away is that you really are the controller of your life. Nobody can tell you what to do. You give away your power recklessly sometimes, and you have the chance to live the life you want.

“You’ll Be Nothing Without Me” is available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle, and at Permanent Solutions hair salon on Minnehaha Ave. To find out more about the book, or about Donovan Moore, visit

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