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INSTRUMENT OF CHANGE: Outgoing County Commissioner McLaughlin reflects on public service

Posted on 18 December 2018 by calvin

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part one of a two-part series.

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
When outgoing Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin drives through the district he’s served for 28 years, he’s proud of the work he’s accomplished.

“I feel good looking around at all the things I helped do,” observed McLaughlin, who lives in Standish-Ericsson a few blocks from the train station at 46th and Hiawatha.

“The county is a pretty amazing instrument, and I’ve put energy into making it an instrument of change.”

Photo right: “I feel good looking around at all the things I helped do,” observed Hennepin County District 4 Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, who left that office in December 2018 after 28 years of service. “The county is a pretty amazing instrument, and I’ve put energy into making it an instrument of change.” (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

From the start, he took his charge to be making things better for those who had elected him, and he worked to show up even when the heat was on.

Close to 40% of Minneapolis’ population live in McLaughlin’s district 4, and there is a steady stream of constituent calls and community meetings.

“Commissioner McLaughlin has a track record of getting things accomplished, and that has been the most exciting thing about working for him,” said his principal aide Brian Shekleton, who has worked in McLaughlin’s office for 12 of the last 21 years at three different times.

Shekleton pointed out the visible and structural investments such as LRT lines, the Midtown Greenway, Target Field Station, the Midtown Exchange, and safer street designs, that have improved Minneapolis and the region.

“But Commissioner McLaughlin has fought for the much less visible investments in people through training programs, human service support structures, supportive housing, environmental response funds, library, and youth sports investment funds, amongst many other programs.

“It’s these investments in people that have helped foster a more stable social fabric, something that is much less monumental but it is people who make a city livable, and I have found that working on these projects to be incredibly rewarding,” stated Shekleton.

His life was changed
McLaughlin didn’t grow up thinking he’d get into politics. He lived in a small town in western Pennsylvania, the son of a printer. Over the years, he watched the town wither away as the manufacturing jobs dried up.

McLaughlin earned a scholarship to attend Princeton University where he studied statistics and economics.

It was during the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson was president, New York City was going bankrupt, there was rioting in the streets, and people were fleeing the city in favor of the suburbs.

The summer before his junior year, McLaughlin took an internship working in Spanish Harlem. “The events in Spanish Harlem got me involved in community organizing and changed my life,” recalled McLaughlin. He switched his major to politics.

Then he went to work for the mayor of Trenton, N.J. The office was focused on revitalizing a dying downtown, and one tool was passing a progressive income tax to ease the property tax burden. As a “punk kid” he accompanied the mayor to Washington, D.C., among other places, and got an up-close look at the mayor’s work.

Photo left: The bike lanes on Park and Portland were the first, significant lanes to be put on a Hennepin County road and paved the way to new lanes on Minnehaha Ave, E. 46th St., and Washington Ave. downtown. McLaughlin has fought for visible, structural investments such as LRT lines, the Midtown Greenway, Target Field Station, the Midtown Exchange, and safer street designs during his 28 years as a Hennepin County Commissioner. (Photo submitted)

Force of community
McLaughlin came to Minnesota for the first time in 1975 to attend graduate school at the University’s School of Public Affairs and never left.

What struck him most were the social networks Minnesota had in place to get things done.

“You not only had tangible investments being made, but you also had this group of people that came together as a force within the community,” he observed.

McLaughlin got pulled into serving as board chair for the Powderhorn Residents Group (now PRG), helping with affordable housing developments. PRG was one of the first groups focused on that in the city. Its first project was revamping the Whittier School at 26th and Blaisdale into 45 units of affordable housing.

When he bought his first house near Matt’s Bar, McLaughlin watched how a city program that put people into vacant homes for $1 stabilized his block.

McLaughlin was hired by the Urban Coalition of Minneapolis and began focusing on social justice issues. Everything they did was cutting edge at the time, affordable housing, weatherization for owner- and renter-occupied homes, apprenticeship credits, education, and more.

Then Pastor Brian Peterson of Walker Church approached McLaughlin and asked him if he’d ever thought about running for office.

McLaughlin agreed to try it and was elected to three terms in the Minnesota House beginning in 1985. Minnesota was in a deep recession, and unemployment was high.

McLaughlin helped create the Jobs Now Coalition to offer a wage subsidy program that is still operating today, and helped pass the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) to put more control in the hands of Minneapolis neighborhoods and foster community. He sponsored the first parental leave act in the country that included six weeks for fathers, as well as mothers.

Directly affecting lives as Commissioner
Then, in 1990, he decided to run for Hennepin County Commissioner because he wanted to be more involved in doing things that directly affected people’s lives.

An experience early on shaped the rest of his career. He accompanied then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and others to Chicago where they met with Sears representatives to ask that the company be the anchor tenant in the redevelopment of the Sears site on Lake St. (now Midtown Global Market). Sears was focused on how much disposable income residents in the area had, and that’s when McLaughlin realized that to get development he needed to focus on jobs first.

“I’m a believer in the economy and how important it is to have jobs for people,” stated McLaughlin. “That’s what pays the mortgages, the grocery bills. That’s what goes to Sears.”

Photo right: Commissioner Peter McLaughlin led the protection of the Upper Post buildings at Fort Snelling using Sentence-to-Service Crews to stabilize the buildings. The buildings will now be redeveloped by Dominium to create housing. (Photo submitted)

He set off to create a renaissance in South Minneapolis and hopefully staunch the exodus of people leaving the city.

It wasn’t going to happen overnight.

“You have to be paying attention when the opportunity arises to do something,” McLaughlin explained.

That involves doing something before then, however. McLaughlin’s method included serving on committees, talking to people, setting up the framework needed and doing studies so that when the time is right, things are in place.

While leaving Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) one day, McLaughlin came out a different door than usual and noticed an old, vacant brick building across the street. He checked the property tax records, saw it was owned by Allina and asked them what they planned to do with it. Fast forward a few years, and the building has been transformed into housing for youth and working adults through a collaboration between the city of Minneapolis, Central Community Housing Trust (CCHT), Allina, the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, and YouthLink.

“I’m kind of always on the lookout for things like that,” McLaughlin said. “You need a network of people to make that happen.”

Look for part two in this series in the February edition of the Messenger.

 

 

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Community Healing Hub one of many resources available at MCLC

Posted on 18 December 2018 by calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church (MCLC) may appear unchanged on the outside with its historic brick façade and soaring steeple, but inside, some significant changes are taking place. Co-pastors Sally and Dan Ankerfelt, along with lay leadership, believe that God has called their church to be a place of healing, hope, and wholeness for all—and they have responded to that call.

The first phase of their response came in 2015 when the Ankerfelts and two of their children embarked on a three-month sabbatical. They traveled to the Philippines to volunteer at an orphanage, and to witness how children there developed resilience in the face of trauma. They spent the remainder of their sabbatical in Northern Minnesota studying, reading, and praying. Pastor Sally Ankerfelt said, “While we were gone, the congregation also looked into their understanding of trauma. The first thing they learned was that everyone has their wounds, and that trauma exists everywhere.”

When their sabbatical ended, the co-pastors and the congregation realized they had come to many of the same conclusions. Ankerfelt explained, “MCLC had been on a path to becoming what we called a ‘trauma-informed’ church. At the close of the sabbatical, we felt we had grown into this instead: a congregation focused on hope, healing, and wholeness. That language offered concrete expressions and opportunities for us, and felt more active than saying we were just ‘trauma-informed.’”

Photo right: Community Healing Hub coordinator Kaye Mills (left) and Pastor Sally Ankerfelt (right) of Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church. Quiet Hours in the Community Healing Hub are Monday from 4-6pm. The comfortably furnished public space is intended for self-care and regeneration. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

The second phase of MCLC’s response began last year when the decision was made to open a Community Healing Hub. Kaye Mills is a graduate student at Luther Seminary working on her MA in Christian Ministry. “I was drawn to MCLC because of their interest in hope, healing, and wholeness,” Mills said. “I spent a semester there, as part of my seminary requirements—and saw how MCLC was growing into their new mission.”

Mills now works part-time as coordinator of the Community Healing Hub, and has offered several workshops on-site in the last year using elements of herbalism, candlelight, and healing sound, and learning to make “green” personal hygiene products. “MCLC is very open to doing different kinds of things, and is helping people find wholeness in ways that work for them,” she said.

The Community Healing Hub can be used by church members and community members alike. It’s located on the main floor of the MCLC education wing (enter through the handicapped-accessible office entrance on the 36th St. side). The space can be reserved twice annually at no cost for a full group meeting, or as a neutral space for a difficult conversation. It comes with a gas fireplace, dimmable overhead lighting, a conference table and chairs, comfortable, upholstered furniture, a coffee pot, electric teapot, microwave, warm blankets, candles, books, and other calming amenities.

Visit www.communityhealinghub.org to check workshop schedules and to make room reservations. Items from the Sensory Library can also be checked out on a visit to the Community Healing Hub. Items include noise-canceling headphones, compression tights, light filters, glow blankets for kids who are afraid of the dark, and much more.

The Community Healing Hub is open to the community for Quiet Hours on Mondays from 4-6pm (with the holidays coming up, check the calendar). The Healing Hub is technology-free, meaning that cell phones and other electronic devices must be turned off. During this time, Mills is in her office if any concerns arise. “The door is open,” she said, “and visitors can use the space as needed for meditation, prayer, aromatherapy, reading, sitting, or resting under one of the weighted blankets by the fire.”

Ankefelt reiterated, “We want neighbors to understand that they don’t have to be a member of this church—or a Christian—to participate in any of our offerings. Our outreach to the community is just this: to provide a space that offers the best possible outcome for healing.”

MCLC is located at 4101 37th Ave. S.

Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church hosts a community gathering on the second Wednesday of each month at 7pm, called “Songs of my Life.” This is a time to share stories, sing mostly secular songs, and have a meal together. All are welcome!

 

 

 

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A wealth of experience in incremental steps leads to new restaurant

Posted on 17 December 2018 by calvin

By JAN WILLMS
For Frank Machado, owner and operator of the new Guavas Cuban Café, opening a restaurant is all about passion.

“If I am passionate about the food, I think everything else will work itself out,” he said in a recent interview at his restaurant at 5607 Chicago Ave. S.
Machado, who is Venezuelan and grew up in Miami, said he has had a lot of experience both cooking and eating Cuban American food.

“Some of my first restaurant jobs were in Cuban restaurants,” Machado said. “There is something about the spices in Venezuelan cuisine that is very similar to Cuban, so it is very natural for me to like this food.”

Photo right: Frank Machado is practical and philosophical about his new Guavas Cuban Café restaurant, 5607 Chicago Ave. S. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Machado said he has eaten a lot of good and bad Cuban food, so he feels he has reached a good point of view about this cuisine.

He worked for a food and wine magazine, Chef’s Club, in Aspen, CO, for two seasons at a job that allowed him to work side by side with state-of-the-art chefs.

“We put out articles every year on the best up and coming chefs, and we got to utilize the chefs featured on those pages,” Machado said. He said there were eight chefs featured each year, and he had the opportunity to work with them.

“Each one had a different vision, so you might have a guy that used fine sea salt in his recipes, another would use kosher salt, and another would salt everything beforehand. There were different cuisines and different kinds of ideas. That was good, because I was in my first management position, and it allowed me to learn a lot.”

After two seasons at Aspen, Machado moved to the Twin Cities to become head chef of Barrio Lowertown. He also ran the kitchen at Red Cow in south Minneapolis. He then opened a company called Twin Cities Paella.

“The company started very small, as a farmer’s market stand,” Machado explained. He said that paella is a dish that has been his nemesis in the kitchen. “It was very difficult for me to make, yet it is a simple one-pot dish you can eat with a spoon.”

Photo left: Pedro Flores works on signage for the cafe. Right now they are easing into the restaurant with limited hours. “I am a very small company, growing from a farmer’s market stand to a small restaurant. We are trying to take our time and do it right,” owner Frank Machado said. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Machado soon mastered the dish and started making it at home, inviting friends and colleagues over to share it.

“Man, this is really good,” one friend told him. “You should do something with this.” Machado said a seed was planted, and he started his market stand which after a year and a half developed into a catering business. “We went to people’s homes, and we hit a good market,” he stated. “We have very busy summers. We do it all, from weddings to corporate gigs, to birthdays and legacy birthdays.”

The catering business took up so much time that Machado had to step away from his duties at the Red Cow and focus on Twin Cities Paella. But he had always had it in his mind that he wanted to open a Cuban restaurant.

“I have lots of fine dining experience and have moved into upscale casual. At the end of the day, what I want with this restaurant is a nice neighborhood spot with food, to show people a little of what I grew up with, and my interpretation of that food.”

There isn’t a large number of Cuban American restaurants in the Twin Cities area currently. Victor’s Cuban Café is the big one, according to Machado. “I think they have done a great job introducing this kind of food,” he added. He also mentioned Brasa and a few other restaurants that include Cuban dishes.

“There are none that focus on Cuban food like Victor’s and us,” he said. “What I bring to the table is that I’m a new Cuban restaurant, not better or worse than Victor’s. I’m the new guy in town, coming in with a lot of energy.”

He said he has recently been to Miami and Havana to research Cuban dishes.

“We’re not a fancy, complicated restaurant,” Machado continued. “You can come in here with kids, sit down and be noisy and enjoy good food.”

Guavas Cubana Café opened its doors quietly in late November, serving brunch Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30am to 2:30pm.

“We are still in the process of getting our beer and wine license,” Machado said. “Once we get that, we are planning to open for dinner service. I envision eventually to be open from 9 to 9 during the week, a little later on weekends.”

He said the gradual expansion of the restaurant is good for him. “I am a very small company, growing from a farmer’s market stand to a small restaurant. We are trying to take our time and do it right.”

The restaurant has a seating capacity for 60, with an additional 40 seats in the summer months on an outside patio. He expects his staff will grow with the restaurant to be about 25.

“I always thought that finances were going to be a problem in opening a restaurant, or things like that,” Machado commented. “I think finding the right people who share my passion for food has been the biggest struggle.”

“And actually realizing that it has happened,” Machado said. “I have wanted to open a restaurant for a while, and it has actually happened.”

Machado still has his catering business that uses a kitchen at 2010 E. Hennepin. “Next year we’ll probably start moving things over here,” he noted.

“Having a farmers market stand first and then going to the restaurant is a process that works because it gives you the kind of baby steps needed to introduce yourself as a person to the community,” Machado said. “I am starting with a small base, compared to some of the bigger restaurants, but I am starting with a base nonetheless. It’s not like starting from scratch, like a new neighborhood restaurant opening and nobody knows who this guy is.”

Machado said he has a nice little base of borderline friends, people who have supported him in the last four years through catering and have invited him into their homes to share their good moments.

“I know once I let them know I have a restaurant, I will receive their support because they know my food is tasty, and they know what I put into it.”

Machado is also optimistic about his new restaurant because he admits he already has a failure under his belt that he believes he has learned from.

“I was in the military for four years, and when I got out I wanted to open my own business. A friend and I opened an ice cream and coffee shop. It wasn’t very well thought out,” he recalled.

“The place broke even very quickly and started to show a little profit,” he said. “But I found myself every day scooping ice cream, and I lost my passion. I didn’t want to go and open the doors.”

Machado said that was seven years ago. “I’m a lot more experienced now. I don’t have a partner, so I don’t have to depend on anybody else. I am a very different person today. I’m going to put it out there and see what happens.”

“For me,” Machado said, “I thought about opening a restaurant a lot because I did have that failure. I am going to try and not make the mistakes I made when I was 21.”

He said that he lives in the neighborhood, not far from the restaurant. “I know this neighborhood, and I know this family concept matches what people want here. I have to build consistency and keep it going.”

 

 

 

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A new brewery is hopping into the Minnehaha Ave. business mix

Posted on 17 December 2018 by calvin

By JILL BOOGREN
The colorful banners adorning the outside of 3036 Minnehaha Ave. do not lie: Arbeiter Brewing is coming to the former Harriet Brewing site. The startup brewery will bring a brand new taproom back to Minnehaha Ave. and Lake St. offering craft beer with, as their website proclaims, “a hefty dose of German influence.”

Alumni from Northern Brewer homebrew supply shop, proprietors Juno Choi, Josh Voeltz, Garth Blomberg and Aaron Herman (lead brewer for five years at Town Hall Brewery) collectively bring expertise in brewing, marketing, distribution, and events.

Plans are to brew traditional German beers (Arbeiter means “worker” in German)—altbiers, hefeweizens, helles lagers, pilsners, maibocks, and Oktoberfests—with plenty of crossover opportunity to brew traditional styles using American ingredients.

Coming from Town Hall Brewery, Herman will no doubt play around with a few bourbon barrel-aged beers. And as a silent nod to their forerunners,

Arbeiter will brew some Belgian beers as well—saisons, quads, tripels (Harriet’s were Belgian-influenced beers).

They plan to have 12 to15 taps total, with four-to-six regular offerings.

“We’ll let our customers decide what our regulars will be,” said Voeltz.

“It’s important for the brewery to have an identity,” Herman added. “People should come to a place because they have a certain selection.”

Photo right: (l to r) Josh Voeltz, Garth Blomberg, Aaron Herman and Juno Choi inside the empty space formerly used by Harriet Brewing, home of their upstart Arbeiter Brewing Company. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

Recognizing that one person’s need for hops is another’s need for “deep, sweet, rich beers,” Arbeiter will brew styles to appeal to a variety of palates. They’ll have room for seasonals and experimental brews, and Herman is eager to get his creative and technical juices flowing. Now brewing at a brewery in Grantsburg, WI that’s open to experimentation, Herman just brewed a hazy-style IPA.

“[Hazy IPAs] have a super low bitterness and a high hop flavor that makes them unique,” Herman said, describing an interaction that creates flavors that don’t happen in other IPAs. The result is achieved by using brewers’ practices that were previously unheard of—using loads of hops and doing the opposite, according to Choi, of what people are taught.

“It’s an example of brewer’s ingenuity,” said Herman.

The taproom itself will be a complete remake. Right now the space is empty. Plans are to move the taproom to the front of the house and add windows to the Minnehaha Ave. side as well as a mezzanine level for more seating. They’re also going to install a huge garage door that will open out to a patio on the south side.

“Harriet didn’t have the luxury to build their taproom ahead of time,” said Choi. The “Surly Bill” that led to the taproom boom in Minneapolis passed after they were up and running. “We want it to be well thought out, just as nice as it can be. More welcoming, a little bit larger.”

They’ll likely steer away from what Herman called a “raw industrial look” in favor of creating a warmer space.

“We’d like to offer our customers a variety,” said Garth Blomberg. Some open space and some areas that are cozy, dimly lit—a place you want to be on a “cold winter night with a friend drinking barrel-aged beers.”

There are no immediate plans for packaging their beer, which means (save for occasional collaborations or releases of 750 ml bottles) the only way to try their beer will be to visit the taproom and taste it there or carry it out in growlers and crowlers.

There are also no plans to serve food. They may invite food trucks, but they also want to work with Geek Love Cafe, Gandhi Mahal and other nearby restaurants to get menus to go.

“There are great options within a block,” said Voeltz. “There’s plenty of good food.”

And while they may host occasional special events, they’ll leave the live performances to the venues down the street: Hook and Ladder, the (soon to be) Mission Room, and Moon Palace Books.

With all brewery mates hailing from other Minneapolis neighborhoods, the location is appealing on many fronts. Blomberg praised the accessibility of all types of transportation: the Blue Line, the Greenway, and Hiawatha Ave. as a major connection to Hwys I-94 and 35W.

“It’s a little apex of all types of transportation,” he said.

They also appreciate the strong sense of community in the area, where businesses all support each other. It took a village to pop up the Longfellow Craft Beverage Garden at Open Streets in July. Hosted outside Moon Palace Books passersby got to try samples from Arbeiter and Venn Brewing, DuNord Craft Spirits, Lawless Distilling, and Urban Forage Winery and Cider House.

“It was a great way to introduce ourselves,” said Choi.

Arbeiter has already collaborated on a beer with Venn Brewing that was on tap at Geek Love Cafe, and, according to Herman, collaborations with other breweries are forthcoming.

Arbeiter would also like to give back to the community, through nonprofits and charitable work.

“My community-based dream for this place, is on a Sunday morning, build a house, come back, have a pancake feed, drink some beers,” said Blomberg.
Above all, they look forward to becoming a lounging spot, a place for the community to gather.

“We very much want to be the neighborhood taproom and get to know the regulars,” said Voeltz. “I’m excited to see the transformation.”

Thirsty yet? “We’re just as anxious and eager to be open as our community,” said Blomberg.

They are hoping for a late summer opening. Those who want in early can buy a membership in the Arbeiter Union that will give them discounted beer for a good long while. Details are on their website.

 

 

 

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Citizen input is a big contributor to Mississippi Gorge Master Plan

Posted on 17 December 2018 by calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area protects a 72-mile corridor along the river from the cities of Dayton and Ramsey to just downstream of Hastings. This includes the stretch which flows through Minneapolis and St. Paul. Approximately 132 acres of land within that corridor, from just south of the I-35 bridge to the north end of Minnehaha Park, has been the subject of discussion and debate this year as the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan has taken form.

Project manager Ellen Kennedy of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) explained, “The final public meeting was held Dec. 10, and the online survey also closed that day. The first version of the survey, which we launched last spring, received more than 1,000 public comments. We’ve been really pleased with the dynamic input we’ve received from throughout the community—including neighbors, people from all over the Twin Cities, and visitors from other places.”

Photo right: In the last six months, project manager Ellen Kennedy (and colleagues) oversaw eight Community Advisory Committee meetings, eight project listening sessions, and six open houses. They also were part of 12 special events throughout the city related to the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan. “It’s the motto of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to engage early, engage often, and engage throughout the process,” she said. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

It’s expected that a draft of the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park Master Plan will be released for a 45 day public comment period in early 2019 when an accessible copy of the document will be posted on the MPRB website. After all the comments are compiled and addressed, and the master plan is finalized, staff will request full MPRB approval and adoption. Following adoption, the master plan will be submitted to the Met Council.

Emily Green is a Longfellow resident and editor for the Center for Changing Landscapes at the U of M’s Forest Resources Department. She served on the Community Advisory Committee. “Each of the neighborhoods adjacent to the gorge nominated one representative,” she said. “As a member of the

Longfellow Community Council’s (LCC) River Gorge Committee, joining the Community Advisory Committee gave me a chance to volunteer in a whole new way. I attended all eight of the council meetings, and several side meetings; it was then my responsibility to report back to my neighbors what I’d learned via Next Door and the LCC newsletter. It’s been inspiring to see how many people care deeply about the river gorge, both in and out of the meetings I attended.”
She continued, “One of the most challenging things for members of the Community Advisory Committee was finding and maintaining a sense of balance.

Photo left: According to the Met Council, the Mississippi River Gorge is the third most used park in the metro area, including its walking and biking trails on street level. There are several places where hikers can drop down to explore natural surface trails that meander through the forest and to access the river. The semi-wild character of the bluffs and bottomlands are loved and appreciated by many in the neighborhood. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

‘How do we promote access to the gorge, while preserving its sense of wildness?’ ‘If we don’t preserve what’s wild, what is there to access?’ Different visions emerged over the six months of meetings. The vision I’m most excited about is the prospect of a continuous hiking trail from the Franklin Bridge south to 44th St. I don’t know if this will be part of the final plan, but I’m hopeful.”

Because this project was awarded $250,000 for master planning through the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund, the planning process must conclude by June 30, 2019.

“The 45 day public comment period is a great time to engage, whether or not you have before,” Kennedy said. “What we’re crafting as a community is a 20-year vision for the Mississippi River Gorge.” Ellen Kennedy can be reached at ekennedy@minneapolisparks.org.

 

 

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College choice looming; Suggs is a champ on gridiron and hardwood

Posted on 17 December 2018 by calvin

By MATTHEW DAVIS
Sporting a Georgetown hat, Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker and St. Paul native Terrell Suggs likened his second cousin Jalen’s prowess at football and basketball as a great problem to have when college recruiters come calling.

“So is Allen Iverson,” Terrell said in a 2017 interview after a game against the Minnesota Vikings. “It’s good to be a 2-sport player.”

Iverson, who played college hoops at Georgetown and went on to a hall-of-fame career in the NBA, also excelled at football in high school. Jalen has been recruited for both sports with schools such as North Carolina for basketball and Ohio State for football showing interest.

“I try to recruit him to go to Arizona State,” said Terrell, who played football there before his NFL career.

Jalen has been the top basketball and football recruit for Minnesota in 2020 for a while. The Minnehaha Academy junior already has led the Redhawks boys basketball team to back-to-back state titles. He recently added a state football title with the St. Paul Academy-Minnehaha Academy-Blake co-op as the quarterback. Trophies have been a big goal for Jalen all along.

“Definitely state championships,” Jalen said in a March interview. “Losing is one of my biggest pet peeves.”

He didn’t say at the time whether he leans toward basketball or football for college, though his hoops prowess has only grown outside of the high school season. He has competed with the USA Basketball U16 and U17 teams the past two summers, winning gold. Division I offers for hoops also have outnumbered football ones according to recruiting websites.

“I think he plays football just to get his body in shape for basketball,” said Terrell, who grew up playing youth football in St. Paul before his family moved to Arizona when he was 15.

Terrell played center in youth football with a quarterback named Joe Mauer, who went on to have a long career baseball with the Minnesota Twins. Terrell, who still has family in the area, said he didn’t get to see Jalen when the Ravens came to play the Vikings.

“Probably somewhere hooping,” said Terrell, who indicated he’s well aware of how high Jalen ranks among high school hoops recruits.

Jalen ranks 10th nationally for all players in the class of 2020 and second among point guards according to ESPN.com. In football, he ranks eighth nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks.

“I look at it here and there when a new one comes out,” Jalen said about the rankings. “But I don’t really pay attention to it too much because, at the end of the day, rankings don’t say anything. Once you get on that court, they can’t save you.”

Jalen didn’t need to save SMB’s football season when he returned from a knee injury this fall. He nonetheless took the Wolfpack to new heights with a Class 4A Prep Bowl victory, accounting for five touchdowns in the championship game.

In basketball, he looks to help the Redhawks win a third-straight Class 2A title this season. He has been averaging 27 points per game in the young season.

Jalen, who said he didn’t get to see Terrell last year, said that his older second cousin has been a big example for him among his athletically-gifted family.

“It’s a big motivation because we’ve had a lot of great players in our family, including my dad, cousins [and] uncles,” Jalen said. “So seeing one that just actually made it, it’s a big motivation. It makes me want to be the next one. Everyone’s pushing me and helping me get there.”

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NENA News, January 2019

Posted on 17 December 2018 by calvin

State of Our Neighborhood
NENA State of Our Neighborhood 2019 will be held on Tues., Jan. 15, 6-8pm, at Lake Nokomis Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy.

Hear from NENA, our business community, neighborhood leaders and elected officials. NENA spent 2018 working to improve, empower and energize our neighborhood. In the past year, NENA hosted over a dozen meetings bringing together hundreds of neighbors to address high priority issues such as the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan, 34th Ave. reconstruction as well as safety and crime concerns. This will also be the first chance to view NENA’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan.

Now in its fourth year, the State of the Neighborhood also presents an opportunity to ask questions of people serving the Nokomis East community from elected offices, the police force, the schools, and local businesses. Community members are invited to send in questions ahead of the event for our elected officials, community, school and business leaders, and NENA by Jan. 14. Submit your question via the form available at www.nokomiseast.org/state-of-our-neighborhood.

On the agenda:
• State Senator Patricia Torres Ray
• State Representative Jean Wagenius
• Hennepin County Commissioner-Elect Angela Conley (tentative)
• Council Member Andrew Johnson
• Council Member Jeremy Schroeder
• Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Stephanie Musich
• Inspector Michael Sullivan, MPD 3rd Precinct
• Jennifer Neale, MPD Crime Prevention Specialist
• Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission Member Isaac Russell
• Principal LaShawn Ray, Lake Nokomis Community Schools
• Jack Dickinson, Nokomis East Business Association Board Chair

Help repair the mural
On Dec. 6, 2018, a car jumped the curb on E. 58th St. and barreled into the nearby garage and the Bossen Community Mural. NENA, Nokomis East artists Victor Yepez and Daniella Bianchini created the mural in 2017, and we want to repair it when the weather warms. The mural depicts the history of the Nokomis East area, the diverse Bossen community, and the natural features of the neighborhood.
Please help NENA raise $1,500 to repair the Bossen Community Mural. Our fundraising page at GiveMN is at www.givemn.org/story/5mf7ze. We are raising funds to support our local artists doing the mural repair work, and to purchase painting supplies.

Neighborhood Jam
The NENA Neighborhood Jam Fundraiser is planned for Sat., Feb. 9, 2-6pm at Off-Leash Art Box, 4200 E. 54th St.

Celebrate our Nokomis East community with lively music from local bands, custom mocktails, hot cocoa, and coffee bar, a Nokomis East trivia competition, silent auction, appetizers and more! All proceeds go to Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, serving your neighborhood since 1997.

The silent auction will feature plenty of holiday gift bargains from neighborhood businesses, like:
• $100 Oxendale’s Market gift card
• $50 Berry Sweet Kitchen gift certificate
• $20 Sassy Spoon gift card
• $25 Nokomis Shoe Shop gift card
• Two oil changes at Nelson’s Auto Repair
• Venn Brewing gift card
• Nokomis Life keychain and coasters from Homespun
• a Nokomis East gift basket, including local artist designed items
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 7-18, free for kids under 7. Get your tickets now at bit.ly/NENAJam.

Love Nokomis East?
Want to meet more neighbors? Volunteer!

Meet your neighbors and shape the future of the neighborhood in just a few hours. NENA needs a variety of volunteer positions, including community photographers, newsletter volunteers, and community outreach volunteers. Some volunteer positions can be modified to fit your availability or schedule.
Interested? Want to learn more? Contact Lauren Hazenson at lauren.hazenson@nokomiseast.org or 612-724-5652.

Sign up for NENA News
Your Guide to News, Events, and Resources! Get your neighborhood news delivered to your inbox every other Wednesday. Sign up today at www.nokomiseast.org. Once you sign up, you’ll receive updates on news and happenings for your neighborhood.

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Metro Work Center finding new ways to connect with the community

Posted on 18 November 2018 by calvin

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
The Metro Work Center (MWC) is a community-based day program for adults with developmental disabilities. Located on the third floor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 2730 E. 31st St., the program is in its 50th year of providing services—and is looking for more ways to connect with the surrounding neighborhood.

Executive director Julie Washington explained, “We’re a non-profit agency licensed for up to 57 adult participants; most participants who come to us are involved in our employment options. We have a regular crew that goes to Alexander’s Import Auto Repair down the street and provides cleaning services. There are several teams that are paid to help neighborhood residents with seasonal raking, mowing, and snow removal. We’re looking to partner with more neighborhood businesses and homeowners, who believe in our mission of community inclusion for people of all abilities.”

Photo right: Executive director Julie Washington of the Metro Work Center. MWC provides job opportunities, life skill development, and community integration for adults with developmental disabilities. On the left is a metal project made by MWC participants and artists through the Community Connects Program (see the article on page 8). (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Like many community programs, MWC began as a congregational effort. In 1965, Holy Trinity started an arts and crafts program for teenagers who, at the time, were labeled “mentally retarded” and not allowed to attend public school. Three years later, the congregation recognized the needs of the broader community and formalized the program as a day activity center with paid staff. By the 1970’s, public schools had changed their language—and their model for accepting students with special needs. MWC began serving adults instead of teens, and their emphasis shifted to in-house vocational training.

Washington started as a direct support professional at MWC 15 years ago while she was still a college student. “At the state and federal level, there’s a big push for community inclusion right now, which we’re already providing,” Washington said. “In the last 50 years, we’ve seen a shift from institutionalizing people with developmental disabilities to having full access to the benefits of community life. MWC works on a combined model of work, social involvement, leisure, and recreation.”

Photo left: MWC participant Rickeem (right) said, “I like hanging out with my friends here.” He works two days per week at a South Minneapolis nursing home, helping to set the tables at mealtime. The person-centered programming at MWC is designed to meet the individual needs of participants. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Washington elaborated, “As part of our leisure and recreational programming, we take a person-centered approach and make weekly trips into the community. We enjoy walking to the many businesses in the neighborhood and, when weather permits, traveling to places such as Como Zoo, museums, parks, and baseball games.”
Like all direct service organizations in Minnesota, MWC is facing a critical funding and staffing shortage. Washington, as already noted, is the executive director, but most days, she wears several other “hats.” She also serves as CEO, CFO, HR director, and direct support professional when needed.

She explained, “We currently have ten direct support professionals and two program coordinators. We have a direct support professional position available, but it’s been hard to fill. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) implemented a 7% cut to funding to critical services this summer. An estimated 32,000 people with developmental disabilities rely on that funding, as well as 300 provider organizations like ours that provide those services state-wide. We operate on a very tight budget.”

She continued, “The position we have would be ideal for someone interested in a career working with people with developmental disabilities. A college student studying psychology or special education would gain relevant experience. We could also use committed community volunteers, willing to go on vocational or recreational trips into the community with us. For instance, we used to help shelf books at the East Lake Library, but we just don’t have enough staff or volunteers to take a group there right now.”

To learn more about supporting MWC by hiring a crew, becoming a volunteer, or to make a donation, contact Julie Washington at jwashington@metroworkcenter.org or call 612-729-7381.

 

 

 

 

 

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Transgender visibility event stretches across Lake St. into St. Paul

Posted on 18 November 2018 by calvin

Protesters gathered along Lake St. from Chicago Ave. and into St. Paul, in a demonstration of solidarity with the local transgender, intersex, and gender-expansive community. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
On Oct. 28, local transgender community members and allies came together for a visibility event. People of all ages lined the south side curb of Lake St., starting at Chicago Ave. heading east well into St. Paul. They stood or sat, shoulder to shoulder, and did not obstruct traffic or sidewalk use.

Minneapolis City Council members Phillipe Cunningham and Andrea Jenkins, who are both transgender, addressed the crowd in front of the Third Precinct Police Station at Minnehaha Ave and E. Lake St. Trained marshals from the Minnesota Women’s March provided critical support along the protest route.

The event was in response to the Oct. 25 Department of Justice statement that workplace discrimination against transgender people does not violate federal law. On Oct. 21, the New York Times published a memo in which the Department of Health and Human Services discussed plans to revoke Title IX civil rights protections on the basis of gender identity. Many of the protest signs declared, “We won’t be erased.”

Photo right: The event, which was pulled together in two days, received praise for its accessibility. There was no march to coordinate; people just showed up along the route to sit or stand for one hour. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

1.4 million Americans identifying as transgender, or a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. An unknown number of Americans are intersex, or were born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals outside of what is typically seen as male and female.

One participant said, “The event was hugely significant, I feel, for its visibility. Often, transgender people are forced to hide who they are or are scared of what will happen if they’re out or outed. For them to be that visible, and to be so well loved and supported, was tremendous.”

 

 

 

 

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Who doesn’t want a Brighter Baby?

Posted on 18 November 2018 by calvin

Longfellow resident, educator and businesswoman, publishes a book on using music to help in a baby’s development

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Longfellow resident Emily Ireland (photo left by Margie O’Loughlin) has just published “Brighter Baby: Build Your Baby’s Brain Power and Strengthen Your Bond.” The book introduces readers to 60+ musical activities that a parent or caregiver to do with the baby in their life. “Brighter Baby” is designed to help adults remember and relive the music of their childhood, while providing tips on how to turn those songs and rhymes into activities they can use throughout the day.

Ireland has an MA in music education, sixteen years experience teaching early childhood music, and is the founder and director of Brighter Minds Music studio, 3701 E. 50th St. She explained, “The activities in this book are ones that we use in our early childhood music classes. With each activity, I explain the benefits to baby’s development as seen through five different lenses: music development, cognitive development, social-emotional development, physical development, language and literacy development. My goal is to give parents and caregivers a great resource for bonding with their babies, while also giving them the tools to make music together.”

Having a baby is one of the biggest game changers in a person’s life. Ireland and her husband, PR consultant Michael Walsh, are the parents of two elementary school-aged children. When their first child was born six years ago, Ireland fell into serious post-partum depression. “It took me completely by surprise,” she said. “My husband and I were delighted with our new daughter, and I generally have a very sunny disposition. It was a difficult time for our family. I had my music school up and running, but I couldn’t manage the workload. In the zone of post-partum depression and sleep deprivation, I thought I’d better start practicing what I preached.”

Ireland and her daughter developed a daily routine of having infant massage time in the morning. In the afternoon, they played games together with a scarf or a ball, accompanied by singing. Ireland began coming out of her depression and realized that if she had benefited from having the many early childhood music resources she had at hand—other parents and caregivers would too.

The book “Brighter Baby” will be available on amazon.com, and at local, independent bookstores soon. Copies of the book can also be ordered through www.brighterbabybook.com. With its November publication date, it’s right on time for the holidays. For parents or caregivers who don’t think they have what it takes to introduce music to their little one, Ireland said, “The most important voice to your baby is your own.”

As infants develop and grow, there are classes of all kinds for them to enjoy at Ireland’s Brighter Minds Music studio. Registration is open for winter session, and group classes are offered at Minnehaha United Methodist Church (3701 E. 50th St.). The Babies Class, for six weeks-18 months, teaches activities that help develop listening skills and provide a foundation for fun and interaction through music.

Activities in the Toddler Class (16 months – 3 ½ years) include bouncing and rocking songs, wiggle and peek-a-boo games, singing, nursery rhymes, and moving to music. Teachers may also include infant massage and sign language. “So many daily activities can be enhanced with music, and with better eye contact,” Ireland said. “The activities we teach will improve the quality of the time you spend with your young child throughout the day.”

For a complete schedule of group music lessons for children 0-5 years, and individual piano, guitar, voice, and ukulele lessons for ages 6-100, visit www.brightermindsmusic.com.

An experienced educator and presenter, Ireland is available to speak at schools, and for ECFE and other parenting groups about “Brighter Baby,” and the value of early childhood music education. She can be reached at 612-743-0942, or by emailing Emily@brightermindsmusic.com.

 

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