In Our Community

Posted on 01 July 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Celebrate 4th of July
Celebrate Independence Day at Minneapolis Parks. The Red White & Boom 5K TC Half Marathon, at Father Hennepin Bluff Park, 6:30 a.m. Tangletown 4th of July Celebration for all ages at Fuller Park, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (9:30 a.m. parade assembly). Red, White and Boom! at the Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront, 6-10 p.m. Other upcoming events: Wednesday, July 10, Ice Cream Social and Movie in the Park at Hiawatha School Park, 7:30-9 p.m. (movie begins at dusk). Thursday, July 11, Morris & Keewaydin Summer Festival and Movie in the Park at Keewaydin Park, 6-8:30 p.m. (movie “Bumblebee” begins at dusk).
Roots and Kindship
Attend a community gathering to revitalize relationships with Mother Earth and each other on June 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m. outside Nokomis Recreation Center. (In case of rain, event will be held inside.) Wisdom Dances, directed by Emily Jarrett Hughes, share the collective joy of traditional songs and dances as tools for healing. Through dance they connect with their European roots and explore ways to live in right relationship in Minnesota. Respond to Lyla June’s invitation to co-create “a story of how humanity fell in love with itself and our Mother Earth once again.” Bring a blanket or your own chair. ASL Interpreted. Accessible seating available.
Elder Voices meets
Elder Voices will meet Friday, June 28 and Friday, July 26, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Elder Voices meets at Turtle Bread Company, 4205 34th St. at the corner of 42nd Ave. and 34th St. There will be time for people to tell or update their Elder Stories. There will be a report from the housing work group of the Minneapolis Regional Retirees Council (AFL-CIO).

Longfellow Garden Tour July 10
Longfellow Garden Club invites people to tour four beautiful gardens on Wednesday, July 10, 6:30 p.m. The tour is free and open to everyone. Pick up map between 5:45-6:30 p.m. on the big rock by Epworth United Methodist Church, 3207 37th Ave. S. Each garden on the tour is unique and highlights how to make the most of a small yard. One garden includes fallen logs and rocks sculptures that display unique patterns and textures. “The berms and hollows might just make you think you’ve fallen into wonderland. Find inspiration for your garden and enjoy a beautiful evening!” say planners.

Seward Summer Walks begin
Seward Summer Walks begin on Wednesday, July 10, 7 p.m. at Matthews Park. Come ready to share your oral histories. July 17 – meet at 2300-33rd Ave. to learn about the history of Birchwood Cafe. July 24 – Explore the lost commercial strip and heart of Seward’s main business area; meet at 2715/2717 E. 25th St. July 31– Meet outside the main entrance to Flour City Ornamental Iron, 2637 27th Ave. to learn about the theme of “Making changes thru protest, agitation, and conflict.”

Seward Redesign celebrates 50 years
Seward Redesign will commemorate 50 years of community real estate and economic development in Seward and Longfellow with a commumnity wealth building summit and celebration on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. The Summit will feature an afternoon keynote address by Chicago-based Pete Saunders, with a series of panels, workshops and tours earlier in the day. More at

Free games, treats
Minnehaha Senior Living, an assisted living facility along with Providence Place Care Center, will host a community event for National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 4-7 p.m. at 3733 23rd Ave. S. There will be free games, music, free frozen treats, and drawings for Twins prizes.

Epworth kids events
Epworth UMC (3207 37th Ave. S., Minneapolis) will host Weed & Water every Wednesday through Aug. 7, 9:30 – 11 a.m. for kids 0 to 8 and their caring adult. Each free session will include a story, craft, games and a snack. Vacation Bible School is set for Aug. 12-16, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., for children ages 5-11. Don’t miss this action-packed week, where kids will explore the entire faith story, from the Garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem. Learn more about God’s creation through stories, crafts, games, science and music. Each day will also include lunch. Information at
ASL, beer and Bible
Epworth UMC hosts Beer & Bible on Wednesday, July 10, 6:30-8 p.m. at Merlin’s Rest for thosenew to the Bible, new to beer, or well-versed in both. Enjoy great discussion and fellowship —beer is optional. Free American Sign Language classes are offered every Sunday through Aug. 18, 12-2 p.m., Epworth UMC (3207 37th Ave S, Minneapolis.) taught by Epworth member Shirley. Email

Transition picnic
Join Transition Longfellow for a potluck picnic get together in Longfellow Park (34th St. and 36th Ave. S.) on Saturday, June 29 from noon-2 p.m. All are welcome to attend, whether or not you live in the neighborhood or have attended other Transition Longfellow events. Play various lawn games such as Frisbee, soccer, ladder golf, Bocce ball and lawn Yahtzee. Plus there’s a wading pool and playground at the park.

Puppet Festival
Puppeteers from near and far will attend the National Puppetry Festival July 16-21 in Minnesota. Most performances and activities take place at the University of Minnesota’s Rarig Center, 330 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis. The free Puppets + Community Day takes place on the West Bank Plaza. Tickets ($15 individual or $20 for adult/child pair) are available at The Wednesday, July 17, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. show, Cellula, features Z Puppets Rosenschnoz (4054 Chicago Ave. S.).

Rising artist show
Minneapolis artists Nana Aforo and Angela Divine Knox are exhibiting work at Urban Forage Winery and Cider House at 3016 E. Lake St. through Labor Day. The exhibition is a combination of Knox’s photo montages made from a combination of film and digital images to create what she calls “photographic cubism,” and Aforo’s expressive and colorful paintings which fill the room with energy and emotion. “Minneapolis does a great job of showcasing local music, but I think we could do a better job of showcasing local visual artists,” said Urban Forage co-owner Jeff Zeitler. “There’s a lot of talent here and we hope to do a better job of getting it out in front of the community here in South Minneapolis.”

Hook & Ladder shows
New Orleans’ favorite sons, The Iguanas, bring the diverse sounds of their hometown’s fusion of Blues, Latin, Zydeco, Cajun, Tex-Mex and Roots Rock to the Hook & Ladder on Wednesday, July 10, 8 p.m.
The Hook & Ladder is proud to welcome Metal Threat’s, an Utter Death Metal Caravan: The Chasm with Cruciamentum(UK) – English Death Metal from the United Kingdom, Infernal Conjuration (MX) Death Metal from Tijuana, Mexico, and Coffinrot (MN) Death Metal from Minnesota for a musically deadly evening, not to be missed on Monday, July 8, 8 p.m.
Minnesota-based singer-songwriter, Joe Carey has been making rock and roll noise for over three decades – often splitting his time between bands and his solo work. His impact on the Twin Cities rock and indie-alternative music scenes is immeasurable. Catch his show with special guests, Martin Devaney, Jessica Carey and Scottie Devlin on Thursday, July 18.
Hear Kevin Gordon with special guest, James Loney, on Friday, July 19, 8:30 p.m. Gordon’s songs have been recorded by Keith Richards, Irma Thomas, Levon Helm, Hard Working Americans, and others.
Seth Walker with special guest, Scottie Miller, will perform on Friday, Aug. 2, 8:30 p.m. Seth Walker has become widely recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the country. With a respect traditional styles, coupled with an appreciation of contemporary songwriting, Seth incorporates a range of artistry with warmth and grace.
Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound whos is set for Friday, Aug. 9, 8:30 p.m., at The Hook & Ladder in Minneapolis. Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound brings forth a funky, lyrically charged, musically explosive, rhythmic groove. Taking cues from the dance bands of western Louisiana—and his native Midwest—the streets (and 45’s) of New Orleans, and the touring African and Caribbean Soul, Funk & Blues combos of his youth, bandleader Paul Cebar, arranges a masterful synthesist of rhythmic fusion.

Submit your news
If you are an organization located in the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger delivery area, you can submit your event, special program, or noteworthy news to us for consideration. Submit your item by email to The deadline for the next issue is Monday, July 15 for the July 25 issue.

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Park planners check community pulse on creek project

Posted on 01 July 2019 by Tesha Christensen

New plan will provide a 20-30-year vision for Minnehaha Creek

Left to right, Lucia Luepker, age 12, Josie Bures, age 10, and Libby Bures, age 13, ask that the meadow near their houses be left undeveloped so they can continue to play there. “We live in our meadow,” J. Bures said on behalf of the trio, adding that the loss of it would have a big impact on their childhood. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)


Bike trails, pickleball courts, ADA-accessible launching pads, storywalks, and pollinator gardens are part of a 20-30-year vision for the park land along the five miles of Minnehaha Creek that cut across the southern part of Minneapolis.
The area has been broken down into four sections, and preferred concept plans for each segment have been released to the public and the 19 members of the Community Advisory Committee (CAC).
During a meeting at Nokomis Recreation Center on Thursday, June 13, 2019, MPRB Planner Adam Arvidson stated, “This project is not yet complete and this is not the last opportunity to have your voice be heard. Tonight we’re trying to get the pulse of where we stand.”
Planners did community engagement in the parks last summer, and held several community open houses during the winter in order to solicit ideas and feedback. These were then incorporated into these preferred concepts presented at the sixth CAC meeting, and additional ones are expected before a final draft is passed onto the park board for review and a public hearing.
The master plan will cover the creek, trails, trees, roads, recreation amenities, and all else contained within park board land between the Edina border and Minnehaha Falls.
Arvidson pointed out that the MPRB, city of Minneapolis and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District have given feedback on the plans as they develop.
“We’re trying to make sure that these three public agencies that you pay for are moving forward together,” said Arvidson.

Safer crossings for peds, bikers
The majority of comments MPRB is receiving right now about the plan have to do with the park road that runs the length of the creek. (See related story starting on front page.)
Segment three, from east of Interstate 35W to Cedar, includes ways to make things safer for pedestrian and bikers. In fact, there are more crossings here than in any other segment of the plan.
Options to improve crossings include high visibility crosswalks with raised pedestrian pads, and a tunnel underneath Cedar Ave. Although the tunnel would be lower than the creek, planners are confident that they can design it in a way to keep it dry, as has been done elsewhere
The majority of comments received during the planning process so far have revolved around the Portland/50th/Parkway area, and the plan would straighten intersections and place improvements at 50th, Portland and Park.
Planners are also trying to balance the needs to slower bicyclists with faster ones and will add additional trails in some areas.

Water and flooding issues
Planners have also been working to increase flood storage capacity in the creek and slow the water down to prevent damage. The areas identified for stormwater BMPs (best management practices) take into account the city’s stormwater outfalls as well as existing problem areas, according to Arvidson.
In segment four, the creek right now is very straight, and the plan would add more curves to increase flood capacity and storage.
In response to a concern voiced at the meeting about the ducks and geese in the area, Arvidson pointed out that habitat will be better than it is now.
A few stormwater BMPs would also be added in this section, with a large one underground in what is now a large field of 34th that is often damp. The installation of the BMP means that the area would be drier than it is now, Arvidson said.
Another large one is planned for the field in the southwest intersection of Cedar and the Parkway which typically floods.
On behalf of the Nokomis Hiawatha Water Sustainability grassroots group, Joan Soholt talked about water issues in the neighborhood, and the number of people with water in their basements and broken pipes. “We are asking for more comprehensive studies,” said Soholt, done by the University of Minnesota or United States Geological Survey.
“We feel like the park board is moving too fast with this,” stated Soholt.


#1: Edina to Lynnhurst
>> This section of the creek would remain wild without paved trails as it is today.
>> An overlook on the Penn Ave. bridge would be added.
>> The existing Lynnhurst Recreation Center building would be torn down, and a larger structure built on the north side of 50th. It would focus on the local environment and creek.
>> The tributary that pours south from Lake Harriet would be “daylighted,” and the pipe it currently flows would be removed so that it is accessible again.
>> A bridge would be built on 50th for traffic to cross this tributary, and bikers and pedestrians would cross underneath it.

#2: Lynnhurst to 35W
>> As requested by residents, the trails will stay in the gorge. A braided channel restoration approach may be used.
>> Trails under Lyndale Bridge will be widened.
>> The section of roadway under Nicollet Bridge will be closed and picnic area, rest-rooms, art, adventure play, parking lot, creek access and more added.

#3: 35W to Cedar
>> Two areas with single track bike trails of varying skill levels will be added near Bloomington. Two tennis courts will stay.
>> A redundant section of roadway south of the gas station at Cedar will be removed and a stormwater BMP added. South of the parkway where it typically floods, another stormwater BMP will be installed.
>> A tunnel will transport bikers and pedestrians safely under Cedar Ave.
>> Stormwater BMPs will be installed at several locations along with creek restoration and remeandering.
>> The area around Portland and 50th will be realigned, and some sections made one-ways to discourage thorough traffic.
* Note: The section from Cedar to Lake Hiawatha is included within the Nokomis-Hiawatha Regional Park plan.

#4: Lake Hiawatha to Minnehaha Falls
>> A tunnel will provide safe crossing under 28th. (This will be built this summer when the 28th bridge is replaced.)
>> The tennis courts at 30th will become a pollinator garden, and those at 32nd fixed up. The courts at 34th will be converted in a bike skills park.
>> Underground flood storage with pollinator gardens and open space would be added on the east side of 34th.
>> Many parts of the creek between bridges will be remeandered to slow down water and provide more capacity storage. Several BMPs will be installed.
>> An ADA takeout will be positioned before the falls.
>> The green space in the boulevard would have a storywalk with natural plantings and public art along a natural surface trail.

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Blue Moon metamorphoses into Milkweed Cafe

Posted on 01 July 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Longtime staff take over beloved neighborhood coffee shop, renovate and open with new name

Owner Brenda Ingersoll prepares a cold press in the recently reopened coffee shop at 3822 Lake St. As she has celiac disease, Ingersoll makes sure to have gluten-free options available for customers. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Blue Moon Coffee Cafe (3822 E. Lake St.) has been transformed into Milkweed by longtime staffers Brenda Ingersoll and Alex Needham.
The new shop opened on May 22, 2019.
After shutting the doors on the neighborhood’s beloved coffee house for the last time on Dec. 31, 2018, the new owners began an extensive renovation project. Throughout the changes, they’ve sought to maintain what the neighborhood – and they – loved best about the local coffee house.
The couple drew upon their own experience working at the Blue Moon under owner Lisa Berg, who operated the cafe for 24 years before closing due to health issues. They’ve also factored in comments they heard from residents during the transition. During the renovation, passersby regularly peeked in the windows and stepped through the door to check on the progress.
Ingersoll managed at Blue Moon from 2014-2016 and Needham worked there from 2013 to 2016. When their son, Bruce, now four, was born, they worked back-to-back shifts, and handed the baby off at the cafe.
“We really fell in love with the space,” recalled Needham.
“It has been my favorite job,” said Ingersoll.
With their past experience, running the coffee shop won’t be new for them. But they also recognized that Blue Moon won’t be the same without Lisa, and so they’re starting fresh with a new identity: Milkweed.
They plan to make their own nut milks, and offer tea blends from Sacred Blossom and other Fair Trade organic companies. They’re sourcing supplies from local vendors as much as possible.
As Ingersoll has been recently diagnosed with celiac disease, the cafe offers gluten-free options and its own facility is entirely gluten-free. Those who aren’t gluten-free can select from the pre-packaged sandwich they offer, along with grab-and-go options from Seward Co-op and deli. Gluten-free options from Sift Bakery are available. Also on the menu are paninis, quiche, salads and more.
Coffee comes from Tiny Footprint Coffee in Brooklyn Park, a company that combines small-batch artisan coffee with reforestation efforts in Ecuador, making it the world’s first carbon negative coffee. To-go cups are compostable.
“For a place that does grab and go things, we’re trying to make as small an impact as possible,” observed Ingersoll.
A former stewardess, Ingersoll says that running a coffee shop is essentially like running an airplane. “You’ve got to build relationships,” she said.

Alex Needham (left), son Bruce, and Brenda Ingersoll during the renovation. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

She’s excited to be her own boss and to apply her design sensibilities to an entire space. A floral designer, Ingersoll also runs a floral business out of her house. She plans to sell tropicals and other plants at Milkweed — where they’ll also function as decor. “I love plants so I’ll fill the space with them,” she stated.

Coffee shop evolution
During the renovation work, the only coffee in this long-time coffee house was from a Mr. Coffee drip machine as the espresso machines sat unplugged. Much of the renovation work was done by Needham, who works for a construction firm around his job in the film industry.
With the help of volunteers and professionals, they replaced and squared off the old bar, added nine seats, and reconfigured the space for new uses. In all, they’ve put in six sinks and three floor drains in the building that was constructed a century ago and is owned by blues musician John Kolstad. Wood planks from one area were reused as flooring elsewhere.
When Blue Moon originally opened in the 1990s, there wasn’t as much laptop use as there is today, explained Ingersoll. Recognizing how coffee shops have evolved, they replaced benches and table tops with a bar along one wall for single users repurposed from a bench that used to sit alongside the back wall. Another bench near the children’s area by the back door is still being used.
The back nook has been reimagined with a caterpillar and butterfly theme for kids. Along with toys, there will be ready-to-go art projects. “Parents can work and watch their kids,” observed Ingersoll, a busy mom herself.
The nook size is a bit different, as the bathroom door has moved and a prep space carved out of the old supply closet.
The new main bar was milled from a Silver Maple tree that fell in Seward.
Long-time customers asked if the new owners were going to keep the lounge, and the answer is yes. The location of the comfy chairs has shifted a bit, but they’re still there.
They can accommodate in-house musical shows, and have a beer and wine license. Local art hangs on the walls in three-month stints, with Jim Blaha, a former Blue Moon barista, up first.
“It’s simple and small, but cozy,” stated Ingersoll. “I think the neighborhood will appreciate a little bit of music in the neighborhood occasionally.”
Milkweed continues to share a door with Hymie’s Vintage Records, which is undergoing its own transformation and is for sale. “Record hunters enjoy drinking coffee and vice versa,” observed Ingersoll.
As many of the former staff as wanted have stayed on at the neighborhood coffee house.
“I remember when this floor was shiny,” observed neighborhood resident Nikki Baker one Sunday in January when she dropped by with Hamuman Carlson to check on the renovation progress. She recalled bringing her daughter to the cafe when she was four, and dropping in a couple times a week. “It’s definitely a community place which is what people need.”
“It’s such an important part of the neighborhood,” added Carlson. “It’s going to be new, but it is going to be the new same.”
Hours right now are Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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With ‘Working’ as their final curtain call, seniors bid adieu to Roosevelt Theater

Posted on 09 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Katherine Quackenbush as Kate Rushton (center). (Photo by Jill Boogren)

As graduates prepare to toss their caps in the air and contemplate their futures, it’s a fitting time to take a closer look at the workaday world. In its 2019 spring production of the musical, “Working,” the Roosevelt Theater company brought to life the stories of working people, ultimately showing that people are much more than their jobs.
Directed by Ryan Underbakke, actors remained on stage throughout the show, supporting one other through song and movement – as students, customers, clerks, commuters, laborers and truck drivers.
The set, imagined by Kurt Gough, consisted of filing boxes stacked high, which became a platform, office cubes, countertops and props.
The music, under the direction of Jay Albright and student conductor Km Boogren, was performed entirely by student musicians who often switched instruments and were sometimes joined by a cast member sitting in for a tune.
All combined to create a show that was deep, funny, intense, unsettling, sad and delightful, sometimes all at once.
The musical marked more than the end of a school year. It was the eighth show over four years since the lights came back on in Roosevelt’s auditorium, so this class of seniors was the first to have theater available during each of their high school years. Some joined as freshman, others later. Many came with stage experience. All hope to be involved in theater or other performing arts after high school.
Here are the stories of eight of the hard-working graduating seniors in “Working:”
Anastasia Mlsna-Lubin joined theater to make some friends. Nervous and not-yet-ready to act, she joined the tech crew of “The Seussification of Romeo & Juliet.” She was assigned the role of stage manager, which Mlsna-Lubin called “really nerve wracking, but kind of a rush.” In later shows she helped with costumes and props.
As a junior, Mlsna-Lubin was already in choir, really liked the show “Into the Woods,” auditioned and got the part as Rapunzel’s Prince.

Sebastian Gonzales as Roberto Nuñez sings of a better day in “Un Mejor Dia Vendora.” (Photo by Jill Boogren)

“I had a really good time. I really liked showing off,” she said.
By contrast, in “Working,” she played a teacher Mlsna-Lubin saw as “old, confused, out of time and out of touch.” She had to dig deep to empathize, but not condone, racist remarks.
Of her overall experience at Roosevelt theater, Mlsna-Lubin said: “There’s this bond that happens when you’re all working toward this goal. You’re all invested, you wanna be there… it helped me come out of my shell and build some confidence. I went from sitting in the back not being seen to center stage. It was amazing to have that feeling of growth and development.”
Ella Spurbeck joined theater as a freshman playing the role of a senator in “Urinetown, the Musical” She had done theater at Sanford Middle School and, impressed after seeing Roosevelt’s first play, got involved.
She really liked “Almost, Maine.” Though it was “kind of fluffy,” she found Echo Olsen to be a really good partner in their scene, in which, all bundled up in winter garb and to great comedic effect, they fell, literally, as they realized they were falling in love.
Spurbeck was on stage for all but “Into the Woods,” for which she was assistant stage manager. She learned that wasn’t for her. She’s now interested in directing and being a full-time musician in a musical, as well as working at designing sets and costumes.
“I think if you’re looking to get into theater, Roosevelt is a great spot to try it out,” she said.
Having previously been in theater at Sanford and Powderhorn Park, Katherine Quackenbush jumped at the chance to play a part in “Seussification” (she was Narrator 4). “I guess I’ve always wanted to be involved in theater, saw there was a play and thought, ‘I’ll be in it,’” she stated.
Quackenbush was involved in every show since, sometimes working on costumes, sometimes acting. For her latest role in “Working,” she sang of being “Just a Housewife,” conveying a feeling of someone unfulfilled and unsupported.

Sophia Stout (at center, holding towel) as Amanda McKenny, with (left to right) Lily Myers, Anastaia Mlsna-Lubin and Ella Spurbeck in “Cleaning Women.” (Photo by Jill Boogren)

She said of her experience in theater: “Something in theater stuck with me. It’s the kind of notion, if you’re gonna look weird, you might as well look weird all the way, try as hard as you can. The community at Roosevelt theater was great.”
Lily Myers had done plays in middle school and was encouraged to audition for “Urinetown.” Though already a choir performer, Myers had an anxiety attack during her audition that prevented her from singing “Happy Birthday.” Fortunately, she got a role anyway and acted in every play thereafter.
“I enjoyed singing and dancing so much, I didn’t care about having a role or not,” she stated. “I just wanted to be involved.”
With “The Laramie Project,” she began exploring how to differentiate characters through their costumes and accents, eventually finding her own voice, learning her range and how she likes to act. She could relate to both her starry-eyed Rapunzel in “Into the Woods” and the millworker who forges through the monotony of factory life with a measured determination in “Working.”
“Acting is just yourself in different personalities,” she said. “Rapunzel and the millworker definitely have different aspects of my character. I can be resilient and strong, but I can also be lighthearted and goofy and romantic.”
Theater gives Myers a deep sense of pride. “Theater has meant so much to me. I’ve been able to come into my own. I’ve gone from having an anxiety attack in my first audition, and now here I am singing my own solo in the last musical of my high school career.”
Luke Longfellow’s first play ever was “The Laramie Project.” He played several different characters, which he called “insane and really, really fun.” He got involved because friends insisted he try it out, and it was one of the most stressful things he’d ever had to deal with. Everything was new: working under a director, memorizing lines. Rehearsals were tiring, but he found he loved being on stage. “I loved being able to see the crowd react to what you’re saying and doing,” he remarked.
Longfellow acted in every subsequent play until “Working,” where he was part of the crew. He was an ancestor in “The Addams Family” and Milky White in “Into the Woods.” “Ghost people and a cow. That’s a broad range,” he said.
Longfellow credits theater for giving him more confidence and making him less reserved, nudging him out of the sidelines to interact with people more and even changing his physical expression. “I [became] more willing to be out loud in public… I always acted more reserved, closed up. [Now] I feel all right about expressing myself around other people, in what I wear and do and say.”
Michael Gough followed his friends into theater, beginning with “The Addams Family” in a role as the father of the boy who wants to marry Wednesday. As a musician, Gough had performed in front of audiences before, just not in theater. “It was new and definitely a little draining, but it was fun,” he said.
He loved his role in “Addams,” but his role in “Almost, Maine” stands out in that it was nothing like him. “I’ve never had to scream or cry on stage before that. It was a very challenging but rewarding experience to completely ignore my own feelings and focus on the character.”
Gough’s take away from theater: “I’ve never been a big put-myself-at-the-center-of-attention person. Theater’s kind of a way to get that experience while having other people back you up along the way.”
Sebastian Gonzales met some of the theater crew through choir and got excited about the musical, “Urinetown.” He had been in a show at Sanford, but his experience at Roosevelt showed him that theater “is actually a profession that people do.”
He enjoyed many roles – as one of The Poor in “Urinetown,” Jack in “Into the Woods” – with his final role as Roberto Nuñez in “Working” his favorite.
“Over the years, I’ve played young kid roles, who haven’t seen a lot. I’ve grown up in theater. I was a baby freshman year,” he said. “Now I’m like six feet. Roberto I can culturally identify with. [Also], looking back on your past, seeing how you got to this point in your life, as a senior in that moment it connected with me, connected with my Latino culture, it felt like home.”
Gonzales likes the roles that don’t have a complete conclusion or a pat ending, because “life isn’t like that.”
For Gonzales, theater at Roosevelt is about family. “We work together. We fight sometimes, some people might not like each other, but we get the job done no matter what… we all have this professionalism.”
Sophia Stout joined theater with her choir friends for “Urinetown” and loved it – singing, being on stage. Stout is also a swimmer, and when she couldn’t give full attention to a role, she helped with costumes and back stage.
Her favorite roles were as the cleaning woman in “Working” and Jack’s mom for a show in “Into the Woods.” “I finally proved I could do something,” she said.
Theater has given Stout confidence and stage presence. “I feel like freshman year I was too timid to do anything. I’d sing quietly. In theater we learn to project. In choir we project, we also know how to warm up our voices so we don’t ruin [them].”
Her parting words: “I hope everyone gets involved in theater once in their life. It’s a good experience.”
For more information about Roosevelt Theater, search Advocates of Roosevelt Theater Arts on Facebook.

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NENA: Shop over 100 garage sales in the neighborhood on June 15

Posted on 04 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

On April 17, 2019 the Minneapolis Health Department recognized the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) as a Local Public Health Hero in the category of promoting healthy weight and smoke-free living. Becky Timm, Executive Director, and several other staff and board members attended and accepted the award. NENA engaged underrepresented residents, including low-income households, renters and people of color, and increased the availability of healthy foods and smoke-free housing for Bossen area residents. NENA has shown committment to building residents’ capacity to advocate for change. NENA surveyed residents to assess their needs and interests, which led to a partnership with the Twin Cities Mobile Market to launch a new market stop in the area. They also advocated for a local ordinance change to improve the Mobile Market’s ability to reach customers.

Nokomis East garage sale
The Annual Garage Sale registration is now open for all Nokomis East (Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park, Wenonah) residents. The sale day is Saturday, June 15 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.Last year hundreds of people flocked to this popular neighborhood garage sale event. Join the over 100 sales that take place on this day each year. Registration is open until Sunday, June 9 at
Are you more of a garage sale shopper? The interactive garage sale map is live at with sales added weekly. Keep track of new Annual Garage Sale updates and information on our website, or pick up a sale list starting June 10 at Nokomis Beach Coffee, Oxendales Grocery, or the NENA office.

Low-cost rain garden lottery
NENA is offering 15 rain gardens to Nokomis East residents (55417 zip code), and an additional five rain gardens to residents in the Lake Nokomis sub-watershed. The rain gardens, which up to 150-square-feet designed and installed by Metro Blooms, will be offered at a fraction of their cost at $410 – $580 (1,250 – $1,500 value). Sign up by June 17 to beautify your garden, reduce flooding, and help local water quality. Recipients will be selected via a randomized lottery in June and installed in August. Register at

NENA is hiring
The Nokomis East Neighborhood Association (NENA) is seeking an Organics Recycling Engagement Contractor to reach renters in the Nokomis East community that are eligible for residential organic recycling. Our goal is to increase participation in the city’s residential organics recycling program among this key demographic. Recycling organic materials is the biggest opportunity to reduce our trash. Organic materials make up about 25 percent of the trash, and less than half (46%) of Minneapolis residents have signed up to participate.
This position will include door-to-door home organics program recruitment and sign-up at single-family home and duplex rental properties. The ideal applicant will have a basic understanding of organics recycling, strong people skills, excellent personal accountability, and the ability to walk/work in a variety of weather conditions.
This is a temporary, contract position for up to 60 hours from June to August 2019, with the option to extend to September 2019. A full job description is available at Complete applications due 5 p.m. on June 5, 2019. No phone calls please.

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 Once you sign up, you’ll receive updates on news and happenings for your neighborhood.

Upcoming meetings and events:
6/5/19: NENA Housing, Commercial, and Streetscape Committee, NENA Office, 6:30 p.m.
6/9/2019: Gateway Garden Volunteer Work Day, 4224 E 50th St, 11 a.m.
6/11/19: NEBA Board Meeting, McDonald’s Liquor Event Space, 6:30 p.m.
6/12/19: NENA Green Initiatives Committee, NENA Office, 6:30 p.m.
6/15/19: Nokomis East Garage Sale, Neighborhood-wide, 8 a.m.

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• Phone: 612-724-5652

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June 2019: In Our Community

Posted on 04 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Lori Mercil, a 25-year resident of the Nokomis East neighborhood, is one of three co-producers of an annual dance showcase called “16 Feet,” along with Becky Heist and Gerry Girouard. A wonderful collection of seasoned professionals will be offering an eclectic mix of dance for every viewer’s taste. There are three evening performances of “16 Feet: Dance off the Dock”, the third annual independent choreographer’s showcase at the TEK BOX in the Cowles Center on June 27, 28, and 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16 at This series is designed to raise local voices and bring their visions to life. “Come take in these explorations of life: happy, sad, zany, and everything in between!” encourage organizers.

Plant along river gorge
Join Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) staff and volunteers on June 25, from 6-8 p.m. for a worknight along the beautiful and rare oak savanna and woodlands located just off the main trail along the Minneapolis side of the river gorge. Spend the evening planting shrubs, wildflowers, sedges and a few trees helping to build a buffer of native plant populations around the prized oak savanna area and will help to re-establish native vegetation where buckthorn has been previously removed.
All are welcome and no experience is needed. All tools, gloves and training will be provided. However, be prepared to work on steep slopes and uneven terrain.To learn more and register, visit

Anxiety support group meets
NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) sponsors free support groups for persons with anxiety disorders. The groups help individuals develop better coping skills and find strength through sharing their experiences. An Open Door Anxiety and Panic support group meets in St. Paul’s Highland Park from 6:30 to 8 p.m., on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., in Room 108. For information, call Les at 612-229-1863 or NAMI at 651-645-2948.

New youth kickball leagues
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board just launched brand-new youth kickball leagues in South Minneapolis. Teams from different Southside parks will learn the rules of kickball and partake in friendly competition against each other during a four-week season that begins after Fourth of July Weekend. Emphasis will be placed on fun. To sign up, go to, or visit any of the following South Minneapolis recreation centers: Corcoran, Keewaydin, Lake Hiawatha, McRae, Morris, Nokomis or Powderhorn.

Hiawatha Golf CAC meets next June 11
The Hiawatha Golf Course Property Master Plan continues to move forward with a new Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting scheduled Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 6-8:30 pm at Pearl Recreation Center, 414 E Diamond Lake Rd. The June 11 CAC meeting will take the form of a workshop in which CAC members will decide on an outline for a single preferred design alternative for the golf course property. The CAC will discuss what they like and don’t like about the three concepts, potentially propose ideas that are a combination of any of the concepts, or propose new ideas that fit the project’s vision and guiding principles. All CAC meetings are public and anyone interested in the creation a long-term plan for the Hiawatha Golf Course Property is welcome to attend. Snacks, refreshments, and passive children’s activities are provided. Contact Cindy Anderson at 612-230-6472 or to request language, access or interpretation accommodations.

Annual parade at McRae Park on June 1
Field Regina Northrop Neighborhood Group & McRae Park’s annual neighborhood parade and celebration is set for Saturday, June 1 at 906 East 47th Street, 55407 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Rain date Saturday, June 8. Join in the fun of pony rides, live music, a magician, free ice cream cones, games for kids, a giant bouncy house, urban chickens, face painting, exhibit lane, food trucks, a drawing for bike giveaways from Nokomis Cycle and more, plus purchase raffle tickets to win a 55-inch TV. Parade lineup is at 10:45 a.m. at Field School parking lot, 46th St. and 4th Ave., with the parade starting at 11 and ending at McRae Park. More at

Hiawatha Academies Senior Signing Day

Hiawatha Collegiate High School’s 75 scholars have 265 college admission letters in hand. In all, 100% of seniors are planning to attend college. (Photo by Natanael Moreno)

On Friday, May 17, 2019 the first graduating class of Hiawatha Academies celebrated their admission to college. One hundred percent of Hiawatha Collegiate High School’s seniors have been admitted to college. At the event, each senior announced in front of family, friends and supporters the college they have chosen to attend.
Hiawatha Collegiate High School’s 75 scholars have 265 college admissions letters in hand. One hundred percent college admission is remarkable in Minnesota, a state with one of the nation’s lowest high school graduation rates for students of color. Hiawatha Academies (3500 E 28th St.) aims to ensure access to college as a path to eliminate educational disparities between students of color and their white peers.
Nearly all of the students will be the first in their family to attend college. “Being accepted into college is a really big step in my life,” says Kamren Anderson, a senior at Hiawatha Collegiate High School. “I used to think that I wasn’t smart enough to go to college or like I would never go to college. Over the years I’ve matured and tell myself that I can do it and not give up.”
Hiawatha Academies is a network of high-performing K-12 college preparatory public charter schools located in South Minneapolis. Its mission is to empower all Hiawatha scholars with the knowledge, character and leadership skills to graduate from college and serve the common good. Its vision is to honor the humanity of all people, by actively disrupting systemic inequity in pursuit of an equitable world, and permanently disrupting educational inequity by ensuring a great school for every child.

Theatre at St. Peder’s
Open Eye Figure Theatre is coming to St. Peder’s (4600 E. 42nd St.) and presenting “The Adventures of Katie Tomatie” – an all ages outdoor puppet show – on July 28, 7-8 p.m. More at

Longfellow Garden Club Plant Swap: Growing Iris
Irises have inspired painters and gardeners for centuries. Whether you are new to growing irises or are an experienced iris gardener, come learn about the many varieties of irises and how to plant and care for these beautiful flowers on June 12, 7 p.m., Epworth United Methodist Church (3207 37th Ave S.).The speaker will be Tim Moore, who has been growing irises for over 20 years and whose home garden has been on two national tours. He is currently on the board of directors of the Tall Bearded Iris Society and the Dwarf Iris Society.

Get outdoors June 7
Curious about archery, canoeing, climbing, fishing or Zumba? Try out those outdoor activities and more, for free, at Powderhorn Park during National Get Outdoors Day, June 7, 4-8 p.m. There will be local entertainment for the whole family and dinner available for purchase from food trucks. Powderhorn Park is located at 3400 15th Ave S. and is easily accessible by bus or bicycle. Plenty of on-street parking is also available. The event and recreational activities are presented by the REI Co-op, The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, US Forest Service, Minneapolis Parks Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Ellen Sweetman show at The Vine Arts
The Vine Arts Gallery and livelybrush, LLC. are pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by native-born Minnesota artist, Ellen Sweetman (Minnetonka) June 1 to June 28. Sweetman dismantles her layered identity, old belief systems, and education, and ideas behind acceptance. Utilizing all the tools in her toolbox, she unlearns and begins anew. Discovering her own unique process of creation and becoming reborn in art.

Upcoming events at Hook & Ladder
Dylan & The Dead, The Jones Gang with special “Dylan” guests Mae Simpson, Dan Israel, James Loney, Mark Joseph, Jon Sullivan plus Tangled Up In Dylan, & Dreams of the Wild will be performing on Friday, June 7, 8 p.m. at the Hook & Ladder, 3010 Minnehaha Ave. The Magnolias with Mike Nicolai (backed by The Rank Strangers), and The Owl-Eyes will be on Friday, June 14. The Suitcase Junket with special guest Snarles B is on Sunday, June 16. The Belfast Cowboys are a nine-piece band that specializes in the music of Van Morrison. They have become one of Minnesota’s (and The Hook & Ladder’s) most popular bands, traveling only when their feet get itchy or the offer is too good to refuse. See them on Saturday, June 22. Malamanya, a U.S.-based band of musicians who mutually share respect and enthusiasm for traditional rhythms and melodies from Cuba and Latin America, will perform on Thursday, June 27. Twin Cities musicians Mark Lickteig and Andra Lee Suchy team up to present a special celebration of two of the greatest singers in the history of American popular music – seminal soul music and rhythm and blues artists, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin on Sunday, June 30.

Picnic & Praise
Enjoy the beautiful spring evenings with a casual picnic meal and informal worship outdoors on the circle drive of Trinity Lutheran of Minnehaha Falls (52nd St. and 40th Ave.). Food and music are provided; bring a lawn chair if you’d like. The meal begins at 6 p.m. each Wednesday in June followed by worship and wrapping up about 7:30 p.m. Call 612-724-3691 for more details.

VBS at Morris Park
All children preschool through 5th grade are invited to kick off summer with a “roar” at Morris Park from 9:30 a.m. to noon, June 10-14. “Life is wild and God is good – and so is having fun with new friends and old,” say organizers. “There will be games, tasty snacks, singing and lots of laughs while learning how amazing God is in our lives.” Register online at or call 612-724-3691 with questions.

Ice cream, social set for June 20
The 7th annual Ice Cream Social and Sidewalk Sale at 56th and Chicago is planned for Thursday, June 20, 4-7 p.m. There will be ice cream, hot dogs, bouncy house, shopping and more. The annual event is hosted by Diamond Lake Community Business Alliance.

Elder voices meets
Elder Voices will meet Friday, May 31 and Friday, June 28, 10-11:30am. Elder Voices meets at Turtle Bread Company , 4205 34th St the corner of 42nd Ave. and 34th St. There will be time for people to tell or update their Elder stories. Don will be back from being hit by a car on his way to Elder Voices on Feb. 22. DeWayne and Marcea will be back from their road trip.

Clay center of celebration July 13
Celebrate the summer season and the opening of Northern Clay Center’s annual exhibition Six McKnight Artists during an afternoon open house on Saturday, July 13, from 1-4 p.m., 2424 Franklin Ave. E. See the works of talented mid-career artists from across the country and the world. Partake in fellowship, picnic food, fun, and hands-on, clay-themed games and contests. Tour the annual Studio Artist Sale, which runs Saturday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, and features artwork by several dozen artists who work, glaze, and fire at the Clay Center. A wide range of sculpture, tableware, and serving pieces will be featured from over 50 in-house talented artists.

LSS Healthy Seniors June events
Join Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors and Minneapolis Community Education for a monthly Senior Social/Health Talk on Tuesday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. (doors open at 10 a.m.) at Bradshaw Funeral & Cremation Services, 3131 Minnehaha Ave. The presentation is “The Seward Neighborhood – A People’s History.” The Seward Neighborhood Group History Committee compiled a history of this vibrant and historic neighborhood and this book is the result. They’ll share stories that celebrate the people and events that make Seward Neighborhood an important part of Minneapolis history. Tai Chi Easy exercise classes are held on Mondays from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 E. 31st Street. Classes cost $5/each and discounts may be available for lower income seniors. Weekly classes will be held through June 24, and then will break for the rest of the summer. Tai Chi is low-impact, slow-motion exercise that’s adaptable to individual abilities. Movements vary between sitting and standing and help improve breathing, coordination, flexibility and strength. Registration is not required – come and try it! A free monthly Diabetes Support Group for adults will be held on June 12 from 1-2:30 p.m. at Trinity Apartments, 2800 E. 31st St.. Anyone with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes is invited to attend. Additionally, Healthy Seniores is looking for “Friendly Visitor” volunteers and volunteer drivers to help seniors live independently. Call Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors at 612-729-5799 or email for more information on activities, services or volunteer opportunities.

VBS, Weed & Water, Beer and Bible
Whether you’re new to the Bible, new to beer, or well-versed in both, you’re invited to join the Beer and Bible group every second Wednesday at Merlin’s Rest organized by Epworth UMC All walks of life and faith welcome. “Come and enjoy great discussion and fellowship —beer is optional,” say organizers. Weed & Water Wednesday is every Wednesday through Aug. 7, 9:30-11 a.m., at Epworth UMC (3207 37th Ave S, Minneapolis). Kids 0 to 8 and their caring adult are invited to Epworth every Wednesday to tend to the Epworth Garden. Each free session will include a story, craft, games and a snack. Any donations for snacks or supplies are appreciated. Calling all children ages 5-11 – you’re invited to God’s Garden, God’s City Vacation Bible School at Epworth Aug. 12-16, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. “Kids will not want to miss this action-packed week, where we will explore the entire faith story, from the Garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem. We’ll learn more about God’s creation and his love for us through stories, crafts, games, science and music! Each day will also include lunch,” say organizers. Learn more and sign up at

Hope for parents
On Sunday, June 9, Hope Lutheran Church (5728 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis) welcomes Pastor Hollie Holt-Woehl to lead the adult forum at 9 a.m. and worship at 10 a.m. At the Adult forum Holt-Woehl will share about her recently published book, “They don’t come with Instructions: Cries, Wisdom and Hope for Parenting Children with Developmental Challenges.” The book offers companionship for the journey with a developmentally challenged child. The mother of a son with an autism diagnosis, Holt-Woehl recognizes that parenting is never easy. Drawing on her own experience and that of nearly forty other parents she surveyed, Holt-Woehl shares stories, information, and insights about tending to the pain, recognizing the joy, and finding ways to keep hope through the ups and downs of this path. The book focuses on the challenges of parenting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), and/or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Mental illness and substance abuse
A free Dual Diagnosis peer support group for adults recovering from both a mental illness and a substance use disorder such as chemical dependency meets bi-weekly in Minneapolis. The group is sponsored by NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Trained facilitators who are also in recovery lead the group, which meets on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, from 2-3:30 p.m., at Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave., in the Longfellow Room. Use the east entrance and ask the receptionist for directions. For information, contact Bruce at 612-338-9084.
All ages ultimate Frisbee
Transition Longfellow hosts All ages Ultimate Frisbee! Thursdays, 5:30 p.m. to dusk at Brackett Park. It’s purposely a low-barrier-of-entry group and style of play. “If you kind-of maybe know how to throw a frisbee and are ok with some jogging, this game is for you!” say organizers. All ages and experience levels – we’ve had kids from age 8 to over 60.

Women’s Golf Week
Women’s Golf Day expands to Women’s Golf Week. Free golf and lessons June 3-7. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s Play Golf Minneapolis courses are the only golf courses in the state hosting outdoor Women’s Golf Week events, with FREE clinics, or a FREE 9-hole round (walking or riding on a cart) offered at six golf courses throughout the city.

Catholic school partners with Groves
Our Lady of Peace Catholic School has been selected by Catholic Schools Center of Excellence as one of 18 Catholic elementary schools to participate in a literacy partnership with Groves Academy. CSCOE helps Catholic elementary schools enhance educational excellence and increase their enrollments and Groves Academy advocates for evidence-based literacy instruction for all students in the state of Minnesota. The Groves Literacy Framework™ is a comprehensive, three-year program for reading and spelling instruction designed to prevent reading problems using evidence-based practices supported by scientific research. Weekly classroom coaching, monthly team meetings and other teacher supports are key to the Framework’s success. “Our goal is to have each and every child in our Catholic elementary schools be fluent readers and spellers by the end of third grade. The Framework not only helps the typical student excel, but it can also identify students who struggle and provide them with the support they need to be successful,” said Gail Dorn, president, CSCOE. “We believe that the Groves approach is the best and most successful in the country and we want to partner with the very best!”

Venn Brewing honored
Venn Brewing earned best in the Fruit & Spice Beers (Non-sour) for its Breakfast Stout in the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild (MNCBG) inaugural MN Brewers Cup. More than 500 beers from 80 Minnesota breweries were submitted to 24 beer categories, ranging from Light Lagers to Imperial Stouts and Porters to Wild and Sour Ales. Beers were judged by 30 BJCP certified beer judges. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild ( is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2000. The Guild promotes Minnesota’s booming brewing industry by sponsoring festivals and special events, and ultimately showcasing the talent of Minnesota’s craft brewers.

Reading and math tutors needed
Longfellow-Nokomis schools need 11 literacy and math tutors for the 2019-2020 school year according to Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps. Minnesota is reported to have one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation, heightening the need for literacy and math tutors in schools throughout the state. Longfellow-Nokomis schools that have been awarded tutor positions are: Dowling School, Urban Environmental Magnet (K3/Math); Hiawatha Community School (PreK); Pillsbury Elementary (PreK); and Sheridan Arts Magnet (PreK/K3). Tutors are being sought for three different levels of commitment: 35, 25 or 18 hours a week. Tutors receive a stipend every two weeks, and can earn up to an additional $4,200 for student loans or tuition, which can be gifted to a family member if the tutor is 55 or older. Many tutors also qualify for additional benefits like free health insurance and child care assistance. Anyone interested is encouraged to apply now at or by calling 866-859-2825. Tutors will begin in August 2019, and spend the next school year making the commitment to “Help Minnesota Be More.”

Sen. Torres Ray honored
State Senator Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Minneapolis) was honored at the 8th Annual Minnesota DFL Humphrey-Mondale Dinner on Friday, May 24 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The dinner celebrates leaders in the DFL party who make significant contributions to the Democratic party and the State of Minnesota. Senator Torres Ray will receive the Joan and Walter Mondale for Public Service Award in recognition for her tireless work and advocacy on behalf of all Minnesotans, particularly those who are most in need. After working in public policy for 16 years, Senator Patricia Torres Ray became the first Latina elected to the Minnesota Senate in 2006. In 2010 she was the first woman of color to run as Lieutenant Governor in the State. She is a recognized local and national leader and was recently elected to chair the National Caucus of Latina Elected Officials within the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, NHCSL. She is a Public Affairs graduate from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, a former adjunct faculty, and ongoing consultant for the school. She has been a resident of Minneapolis for 30 years and has two boys, ages 24 and 22.

Submit your news
If you are an organization located in the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger delivery area, you can submit your event, special program, or noteworthy news to us for consideration. Submit your item by email to The deadline for the next issue is Monday, June 17 for the June 27 issue.

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‘Beloved Community’ gathers for what may be last MayDay

Posted on 04 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Record numbers of South Minneapolis residents “got together” for the 45th annual MayDay Parade, the last for organizer Sandy Spieler. Heart of the Beast Theater announced in January that it did not have the funds to continue organizing MayDay on its own and asked for help. Individual donors pitched in and HOTB raised the full $200,000 it needed for this year’s event. This year’s ‘Beloved Community’ MayDay theme asked attendees how to carry forward the legacy that MayDay has nurtured. “That question is held in the potential of a seedling tree,” pointed out HOTB Executive Director Corrie Zoll. This year, 1,035 tree seedlings were distributed with the intention that they take root in the neighborhoods as an investment in the future. Those who would like to see MayDay continue are working to figure out how to decentralize the MayDay model, create an equity framework that ensures ownership and decision-making representation from many, and develops a new business plan with a more resilient set of resources to support the work of the Heart of the Beast. “We need your voice, your input, and your support,” said Zoll. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

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Too Much Coffee: Print is not dead – but we are changing

Posted on 04 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Tesha M. Christensen, owner & editor


Print is dead, you say?
Nah. It’s just evolving.
A few months ago I attended the Minnesota Newspapers Association (MNA) annual convention, and listened to a speaker talk about just that. I was particularly interested in the topic as I was negotiating to purchase the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger and Midway Como Monitor from longtime owners Calvin deRuyter and Tim Nelson. Was I taking a leap into a dying industry?
After listening to Bill Ostendorf of Creative Circle Media Solutions, I was reassured. He’s spent his whole career in newspapers, and he doesn’t believe print is dead.
After 20 years in the industry, I don’t either.
Why am I convinced?
Well, they first started saying newspapers were going to die when radio got popular. But newspapers stuck around.
Then they said newspapers and radio couldn’t last when the television came out. Yet newspapers stayed and even thrived.
When the Internet got big, they were sure it was the final death knoll of newspapers, radio and television. Yet radios are still in every car, most people have one or more televisions in their house, and newspapers continue to print.
The thing is, people are reading now more than ever before. So the question isn’t whether people are reading, the question is are they going to read particular publications.
The questions those of us in the news industry need to be asking is why should people read our stuff instead of the myriad of information out there.
What makes us different?
What makes us worth reading?
What makes our editions important?
Those are the questions I’m committed to asking. I entered the field of journalism at the cusp of the Internet revolution. For those first few years, I called the local librarian to doublecheck my details. And then fact-checking things became much faster via Google. (Although with its own new set of accuracy questions.) I even did a few editions of cut and paste before we switched over to electronic layout with QuarkExpress.
As I ask others what they love about neighborhood newspapers, I have been thinking about what I value. I want to know what’s happening on my street, what development is going to change my neighborhood, and what fascinating things my neighbors are engaged in. I want to see photos of kids I know and congratulate them on their achievements, noting, “I saw you in the paper.” I want to hear the various sides of issues and wrestle over what the best solution will be in the long run. I want to learn what sparked the coffee shop and hardware store and secondhand boutique owners to open up shop, and hear what tips they have for other entrepreneurs.
The daily stuff of my neighborhood can’t be found anywhere but in the papers of my neighborhood newspaper.
That’s what I love about community journalism. I stay in this industry because I love local, I love to see people engaged, and I love to watch community being built. I appreciate the slice of life the pages of the Messenger offer each month.
I’m also excited to see how newspapers are being innovative and creative. It’s amazing to see the convergence of media – of print, TV, radio, audio, video, and more – coming together in to something new.
What will community newspapers look like in 10 years? I’m looking forward to finding out. I think that the answer lies in asking our readers what they want.
Bill Ostendorf encouraged all the reporters in the room at the MNA Convention (and his session was packed) to focus on being reader-centric. This starts with the basics of what we write in an article, how we shape it, and who we include in it. It also means focusing on writing really good headlines about people instead of things, and really interesting photo cutlines. Plus we need more break-out boxes and standout photos. Research has shown that people read headlines, cutlines and break-out boxes first – and they may or may not read the whole article.
Ostendorf advocated for content that is more engaging and more relevant. He encouraged designers to adopt modular layouts that are easier on the eyes. He encouraged sales staff to sell bigger ads that get attention and bring value to the readers.
Ostendorf reminded us that our print newspapers help people live better lives. The information within our pages informs and educates. It helps people make better decisions and be successful.
What do you want from the pages of the Messenger? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line at

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View from the Messenger: Let’s hear it for/from our readers!

Posted on 04 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Denis Woulfe


I’ve spent the last few weeks helping to introduce the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger’s new owner, Tesha M. Christensen, to Messenger advertisers, readers, and other stakeholders. And during that process it has reminded me of when I was making the rounds introducing myself to Messenger stakeholders when we purchased the paper from Bill and Maureen Milbrath in 1986.
One of the first community groups I met was the Longfellow Ministerial Association. The Milbraths believed that a neighborhood newspaper was an important vehicle to connect all the community stakeholders and provide a forum for residents to discuss important community issues, and they recognized that the area churches provided an important framework for residents to make a connection to the community.
Meeting with the dozen or so ministers who were active in the Ministerial Association was a bit intimidating, as it was obvious that these ministers were regular readers of the Messenger and truly embraced the mission of the Messenger and felt that they were a part of it.
Interestingly, after Bill Milbrath introduced me as the new Editor of the Messenger and the new Advertiser Manager, the ministers went around their large table and asked me a host of questions.
Finally, one pastor asked what ended up being the capstone question for the meeting. “Denis, do you know the name of that structure that connects the Longfellow neighborhood in Minneapolis to the Merriam Park neighborhood in St. Paul over the Mississippi River?”
I paused for a moment, and I’m sure my face looked a bit puzzled with what seemed like such an odd question, but then I spoke up. “Do you mean the Lake Street Bridge?”
All the pastors started to laugh. I looked inquisitively at Bill for some explanation, and he just smiled and said, “You just passed the test, Denis!”
The pastor asking the question had assumed that I would answer “Marshall Avenue Bridge,” given the fact that our original newspaper for over 20 years had been the Midway Como Monitor in St. Paul and he figured I would see things from a St. Paul vantage point. Because my sister had lived in South Minneapolis for many years, just on the edge of the coverage area for the Messenger, I had always thought of it as the Lake Street Bridge and rarely used Marshall Avenue Bridge in conversation.
Perspective can be a very important thing in publishing a neighborhood newspaper and our goal continues to be to represent all the stakeholders in Longfellow and Nokomis the very best we can by engaging our readers and trying to publish articles and content that is important to them.
But we need your help to make the Messenger even better.
You might know that the Messenger’s new owner is a South Minneapolis resident herself, and as a reporter for the Messenger for the past eight years, she is already well versed on many issues of vital concern to Longfellow Nokomis residents. But in addition to that obvious advantage, we are in the midst of reaching out to residents and business owners like you to find out just what you like about the Messenger and what you’d like to change.
If you have an idea for a story or want to introduce yourself to the new owner, Tesha M. Christensen, you can email her at or call her directly at 612-345-9998.
Or maybe you’d like to find out more about advertising opportunities in the Messenger? I hear this question quite a bit, but just to say this, it is through the advertising of our local businesses that we are able to bring you the Messenger each month. And in turn, it is those same local businesses who want to reach out to local residents like you for their customer base. A community newspaper like the Messenger recognizes that bond between businesses and their local customer base and we help facilitate it.
But you might also know that the options for advertising have changed over the years. In addition to run of press ads in the newspaper, we also offer inserts that can be directed to specific routes in the Messenger delivery area. Inserts can also be a great option for a new restaurant or a church holding a special event. We also offer a special Partner Insert Program where we pair two local businesses to print and distribute a flyer. That makes distributing flyers more reasonable than ever before.
And don’t forget online advertising (you can find us online all the time at Online ads can be placed online almost immediately and it’s a nice complement to appearing in the printed newspaper.
I’d be happy to continue this conversation with you directly. Send me a note at or call me at 651-917-4183.

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Mayor Jacob Frey touts his first-year-in-office accomplishments

Posted on 22 April 2019 by calvin

It has been a little over a year since Jacob Frey (photo right provided) took over the reins as mayor of Minneapolis. But in that year, Frey has made some incremental changes.

Making affordable housing one of his priorities, he has worked on a new initiative, “Stable Homes, Stable Schools,” built on a collaboration with private and public partners and designed to provide stable housing for Minneapolis public school students and families facing homelessness.

Longfellow schools Sullivan and Anishinaabe Academy are among the 15 schools participating in the program, which is a team effort with partners from the City, Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Hennepin County.

The program focuses on schools with the highest rates of homelessness.

“I included $3.3 million in my first budget as mayor to support the program,” Frey said. “In its first three years, we hope that the program can house up to 320 families and as many as 648 kids.”

Frey said he hopes that this program will not just provide stable housing to families and kids that need it, but will also help stabilize Minneapolis public schools. “We can’t expect our students to learn and succeed in the classroom if they don’t have a room to rest their head at night,” he said. “And our kids are worth the cost.”

Another major issue the mayor has focused on is sexual assault. “Reporting sexual assault is an act of courage,” he stated. “Survivors experience unspeakable trauma, and honoring their bravery requires we make every effort to ensure investigations are handled with compassion and ultimately guided by the goal of delivering justice.”

Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo have set out to pursue a new policy to improve how sexual assault is handled in the city. “The policy is built on the pillars of compassion for victims, responsiveness to survivors and accountability,” Frey explained.

Some of its specifics include victim-centered training for sexual assault investigations, trauma-informed interview techniques and implementing best practices for investigators to follow during a sexual assault case. Also, an in-house victim advocate who works alongside investigators and assists survivors through investigation and legal process will be a part of the new policy.

“Our sexual assault policy holds our investigators to high standards,” Frey noted, “but elected officials also need to be held accountable for giving Arradondo and our police department the resources they need to meet those high standards. Our police department receives more than 700 reports of rape alone per year. We only have eight investigators to handle all of these cases on top of the other crimes they’re assigned.”

Frey is hoping that adding more police officers to the department will help improve the relationship between residents and police, which has suffered in the past.

“Adding more officers will help make Minneapolis safer, through a likely reduction in crime and a lower rate of incarceration,” he said. He cited increased funding by President Barack Obama in 2009 for the Community Oriented Police Services (COPS). “Data has shown that jurisdictions which used the money to add officers saw a concurrent drop in crime without an increase in arrests.

“We also need to improve the response times for 911 calls in Minneapolis,” Frey said, noting that it can sometimes take as long as 30 minutes for an officer to show up when some residents call 911.

“Hiring more officers will reduce the use of force,” Frey continued. “Research has shown that over-scheduled, overworked and fatigued officers are more likely to use force in tense situations.” He said studies have also shown that the number of complaints against a police department drops when cops are less tired. “The best cure for over-scheduling responsible for those problems is more staff.”

“Chief Arradondo has repeatedly requested more officers,” Frey said. “I trust Arradondo to shift the culture of the MPD and advance our goals around community policing. We should give him the resources he needs to do that.”

In his first year, Frey also has stressed immigration issues. “Our immigrant communities have driven so many of the successes that have made Minneapolis an amazing city,” he stated. “Whether it’s our small businesses, our arts scene or our nonprofits, immigrants have made Minneapolis a place where people want to live, invest and start businesses. As mayor, I have an obligation to do everything I can to make sure their talents and contributions stay in Minneapolis.”

He said one of the accomplishments he is most proud of is outfitting every MPD squad car with ‘Know-Your-ICE-Rights’ placards that outline a person’s rights as they pertain to ICE. “We will not let a lack of compassion at the highest levels of our government go unanswered in Minneapolis.”

Frey added that this is also a key step in continuing to build trust between the police department and the community. “We are focused on keeping everyone in our city safe, not on immigration enforcement.”

Celebrating the city is also on the mayor’s mind. Doors Open Minneapolis is a celebration of the city and the spaces that make it unique. “On the weekend of May 18-19, venues and sites across our city will open their doors to the public for free, behind-the-scenes access,” he said. More information can be found at

Reflecting on his first year in office, Mayor Frey said he found his most challenging and complex issue to be the Hiawatha homeless encampment. “It forced us to confront the scope of both our housing crisis and the opioid epidemic,” he said.

“From the start, our entire coalition—city leadership, tribes, Red Lake Nation, Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors—was committed to centering our actions on compassion and a response for human dignity. Our hope is that what we have done will have a lasting impact for the people we serve,” Frey stated.

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