Archive | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Minnehaha Parkway to stay open through city

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Master plan revised after public outcry about closing some sections to vehicles

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Drivers will be able to travel the length of Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis after all.
Following public outcry last fall to its proposal to close off some sections to vehicular traffic, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board has released an updated master plan for Minnehaha Parkway and the creek. It includes continuous motorized vehicle traffic on the parkway road in both directions.
While it still includes an adventure play area and bathrooms under the Nicollet Ave. bridge, the roadway will continue to travel both directions in the area as it does now.
Near Portland, the intersections at 50th and 4th will be better aligned. The northern sections of the parkway will have a set of opposing one ways that are about a block long so traffic can’t drive all the way through, but drivers can instead take the main, southern route all the way through.
Other intersections, such as the one at Bloomington, will get a make-over with curbs and realignment of the traffic lane and trails.
The community advisory committee studying this area made its final recommendations on Feb. 10. Next, the draft Master Plan will be released for a 45-day public comment period. Based on responses during the comment period, the Master Plan may be modified. A public hearing will then be held at a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners before it is approved.
After the plan is adopted, the MPRB will spend approximately $1 million in the corridor. Specific projects have not yet been determined.
Contact editor at tesha@longfellownokomismessenger.com.

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Longfellow Business Association March 2020

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By Kim JAKUS,
kim@
longfellowbusinessassociation.org

Longfellow Businesses:
LBA wants to hear from you
This March the LBA is hosting four focus groups to learn how to support our business community in the Greater Longfellow Area better. If your business falls into one of the following categories, consider joining us. We’re interested in hearing from business owners about the tools, resources, connections we can offer to help your business thrive. We will provide lunch, and all participants will receive a $20 gift card to a local Longfellow business. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kim at kim@longfellowbusinessassociation.org or 612-298-4699.
Industrial Businesses: Wednesday, March 11, 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon, Du Nord Craft Spirits. Has your business been affected by the demographic and infrastructure changes along the Hiawatha corridor? How is your business adapting, and what can LBA do to support you?
Arts & Entertainment Businesses: Wednesday, March 11, 12:30 – 2 p.m., Du Nord Craft Spirits. The Longfellow neighborhood now hosts numerous venues for dance, literary events, live music, craft beer, and spirits. How can LBA build on this momentum and create a vision for Longfellow as an arts & entertainment destination?
Minority & Immigrant-owned Businesses: Wednesday, March 25, 10:30 a.m. – noon, El Norteño. What are the challenges to operating a business in Minneapolis, and more specifically, in Longfellow? How can LBA better support and market your business or service to community members?
Emerging Business Owners: Wednesday, March 25, 12:30 -2 p.m., El Norteño. Are you a first-time business owner in your 30 or 40s? If so, LBA interested in learning about the challenges facing business owners in the age of social media. How can being part of a business association help you to thrive?

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Nokomis East Neighborhood Association March 2020

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By LAUREN
HAZENSON,
Project & Communications Manager
lauren.hazenson@nokomiseast.org

Staying-in-Place grants
NENA is pleased to announce the launch of its Staying-in-Place grant program through its new nonprofit partner, Rebuilding Together Twin Cities.
The Staying-in-Place grants are designed to help vulnerable adults (low-income, senior, disabled, and veteran) address outstanding housing maintenance issues. Rebuilding Together Twin Cities will provide access to needed funds to help these property owners living on fixed incomes make repairs so they can live safely in place with economic stability. The grant program covers two service categories:
1. Safe at Home: Provide home safety and fall prevention modifications and ramps for older adults and individuals living with a disability.
2. Home Repair: Provide volunteer-delivered repairs including weatherizing, cleaning, installing flooring, patching and painting, siding, and landscaping, and timely contractor-delivered repair or replacement of essential systems, such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing, outer envelope and roofs..
For more information or to request an application, call Rebuilding Together Twin Cities at (651) 776-4273 or email homeowners@rebuildingtogether-twincities.org. Be sure to mention you live in a Nokomis East neighborhood.

Online secondhand tool sale
NENA is doing some spring cleaning, and selling some previously owned tools for your spring greening! Get a deal on rakes of all sizes, clippers, sprinklers, seedling pots and more!
The sale begins March 1 at nokomiseast.org/store and closes on March 20.
All supplies must be picked up at the NENA office. Tool selection is first come, first serve, so shop early for the best selection. All proceeds from the sale go to NENA programming.

Green Fair is back!
Climate Change, pollinators in trouble, and a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean twice the size of Texas – and growing every day. Our environmental problems can seem too big to handle, but they’re not too big to be solved by people like you. Commit to reducing your impact on the planet one change at a time, right in your own home.
The South Minneapolis Green Fair is there for you with resources for any sustainability question you have, from improving water quality in your backyard to diverting waste from the landfill. Join us on Saturday, April 18 from 12–4 p.m. in the Roosevelt High School Gym for free workshops, speakers, and over 20 exhibitors. Check out more details and plan your visit at bit.ly/SMGreenFair.

Meetings and events:
3/11/20: NENA Green Initiatives Committee, NENA Office, 6:30 pm
3/21/20: Crock-Pot Cook-Off and Meat Raffle, Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church, 6:30 pm
3/23/20: NENA Board Meeting, NENA Office, 7 pm

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In Our Community March 2020

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Classes and groups for seniors offered
Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors holds several classes for seniors including Tai Chi exercise, art classes, technology assistance and diabetes support groups. Tai Chi classes are held on Tuesdays from 9:30-10:15 a.m. at Holy Trinity Lutheran, 2730 E. 31st Street. Our next art class on painting with alcohol inks will be held on March 18 from 1-3 p.m., also at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. A technology “clinic” will be held on March 10 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Trinity Apartments. A diabetes support group meets on March 11 from 1-2:30 p.m. Contact Longfellow/Seward Healthy Seniors at 612 729-5799 for more information.

Gypsy moth in area
Join the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) at an open house on Thursday, Feb. 27, 6-8:30 p.m. at Keewaydin Recreation Center (3030 E 53rd St.) to find out more about gypsy moth and a proposed treatment for the area, which includes parts of the Wenonah and Keewaydin neighborhoods. Gypsy moth is an invasive insect that can attack many trees and shrubs. It has been found in neighborhoods south and east of Lake Nokomis.

Join Elder Voices
Elder Voices (Telling Our Stories) will meet the fourth Friday of February (2/28) and March (3/27) at Turtle Bread Company, 4205-34th St. 10-11:30 a.m. There will be time for people to tell or update their elder stories, the challenges and joys of elderhood. Conversation topics will include, Do neighborhood organizations and neighborhoods still matter to elders and to the city of Minneapolis?

Free Black Dirt-y talk
Join Free Black Dirt, conveners of the MayDay Council, in a Dirt-y Talk Discussion Series around the barriers, challenges, and opportunities of creating a new MayDay proces on Friday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (1500 E. Lake St.). Explore tokenization, accessibility, appropriation, gender, non-extractive relationships, community celebration and more as we shape a new MayDay Celebration that is truly equitable, accessible, and community-owned.

Study on implicit bias
Lenten Study on Implicit Bias starts March 1, noon with food and conversation at Epworth United Methodist Church. Are you committed to the work of having conversations that matter, honoring cultural differences, and dismantling policies and practices that hinder us all? Learn about implicit bias using print and video resources from the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) as well as other resources. This Lenten Study is one step toward bridging the gap between what people proclaim and the realities of implicit bias that stand in the way. Epworth United Methodist Church is located at 3207 37 Ave S. For more info, email epworthumcmplsmn@gmail.com or call 612-721-0232.

Sick Lit workshop
Attend Sick Lit: A Writing Workshop on Saturday, March 21, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Nokomis Library. This is a free, open writing workshop for artists and writers interested in writing and reading around chronic illness. No previous experience needed. The workshops will be lead by writer, editor, and teaching artist Lara Mimosa Montes in the library meeting room. For more information and to RSVP, write: MplsWritingWorkshops@gmail.com. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Theatre premieres dystopian drama
Uprising Theatre Company is proud to present the regionalpremiere of ‘Doctor Voynich and Her Children,” a new play by Leanna Keyes that strives to illuminate what happens in a country where there is no sex education and abortion has been outlawed. This powerful new drama will be on stage March 6-21 2020 at the Off-Leash Art Box, located at 4200 E. 54th St. Uprising Theatre Company’s 2020 Season features all transgender and nonbinary playwrights, all women and/or transgender directors and all new work.

Suicide prevention class
QPR is a free, one-hour presentation sponsored by NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) that covers the three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide – Question, Persuade and Refer. A QPR classes will be offered on Sunday, March 8, from 9:30-10:30 a.m., at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S. For information, contact NAMI Minnesota at 651-645-2948.

Focus on ‘Clobber Texts’
Discuss the clobber texts in the Old Testament – Clobber passages are those verses in the Bible that are commonly used as a weapon. Any of several passages in the Bible that are routinely used by some people to condemn homosexuality and homosexuals. On Wednesday March 11, Epworth’s Beer & Bible will discuss Genesis 1 & 2, 18:16-19:29, Judges 19:14-29, Leviticus 18 & 20, and Deuteronomy 23 in the context of verses surrounding those passages. Beer and Bible meets at Merlin’s Rest (3601 E Lake St,). Beer is optional. The same passages will be discussed at Epworth’s Bagel and Bible on March 15 at 9:30 am at Epworth 3207 37 Ave. S.

Intergenerational story time at Vet’s Home
Baby/Toddler Intergenerational Story Hour & Play Time at the Minnesota Veterans Home is Tuesday, March 17 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Veterans read books and sing songs (with a ukulele player) for 1/2 an hour followed by 1/2 hour play/ craft time, all led by a recreation therapist. This is free and open to the public, and held monthly. Children of all ages are welcome, just know the songs and books are geared to little ones. The Minnesota Veterans Home is at 5101 Minnehaha Ave S. and the program is in the Building 19 Community Room. The facility is a nursing home within Minnehaha Falls Park. Contact Erin, erin.betlock@state.mn.us / 612 548 5751, to RSVP or with any questions.

Discuss ‘Milk’
Epworth Youth Present Dinner, Movie, and Conversation at 5 p.m. Come March 21 to watch and discuss the movie “Milk,” the story of Harvey Milk’s struggles as a gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official. Epworth aims to spark conversations about topics that impact the community. Epworth UMC is located at 3207 37th Ave. S.

Veggies classes set
The Veggie Basics class offered by Transition Longfellow runs for 4 Saturdays in April: April 4, April 11, April 18 and April 25 from 10 11:30 a.m., in the community room at Gandhi Mahal (3009 27th Ave So.). It is taught by various Hennepin County master gardeners. Cost for the entire series is $10. Beverages will be served. For questions about class content, email reierson.deb@gmailcom. For questions about registration or payment, email boyleaj3@gmail.com.
Praying in Color
Take time to reflect on and deepen your relationship with God in the season of Lent on Sunday, April 5 at 11:30 a.m. after coffee hour; Monday, April 6 at 10 a.m.; and/or Tuesday, April 7 at 4 p.m. at Minnehaha Communion Lutheran Church. The hour-long sessions will include a short Bible study on the importance of prayer before exploring different ways to pray, featuring a practice called Praying in Color. Praying in Color is an easy and relaxing way to pray using your hands and creativity to reflect and color a connection with God. All ages are welcome to come to one or more classes; no artistic ability needed.
Learning garden tour
One of Minnesota’s most anticipated summer gardening events – the 2020 Hennepin County Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour being held on Saturday, July 11, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This self-guided tour includes nine gardens from Prospect Park to Edina and into Linden Hills. The variety of gardens on this year’s annual tour offer many learning opportunities. They include eight home gardens designed and tended by Master Gardener volunteers, as well as one Community Garden. At each garden you’ll meet Master Gardeners who garden not only for their enjoyment, but to contribute to the health of our local ecosystem. Buy tickets and learn more at www.hennepinmastergardeners.org.

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Longfellow Library opens
Minnehaha Senior Living, an assisted living community, located in South Minneapolis, has recently added a new library for its tenants and dedicated it to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He was a beloved American Poet, famous for “The Song Of Hiawatha” written about Native American Indians in lyric poetry in 1855. The book is about an Ojibwe warrior named Hiawatha and a Dakota woman named Minnehaha.
Doug Ernst, who is a local historian and reenactment presenter, came to Minnehaha Senior Living to give a presentation and to visit the newly opened Henry Wadsworth Longfellow library in January. Ernst said it is fitting that Minnehaha Senior Living chose to call their library “The Longfellow” library with the rich history of the writer and the name Minnehaha.
Ernst will be reading from the book “The Song Of Hiawatha” during a talk about Longfellow’s life – that is open to the public on March 13 at 2:30 p.m. in the Activity Room. Ernst is the Executive Director at the Richfield Historical Society and is a regular speaker at Minnehaha Senior Living (3733-23rd Ave. S.).

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Chard Your Yard Garden registration opens March 15
Have you seen those signs near your neighbors gardens and wondered what Chard Your Yard is all about? Since 2013, Transition Longfellow has partnered with the Longfellow Community Council to offer a fun and exciting event to increase vegetable gardening in the neighborhood, Chard Your Yard. Transition Longfellow is a community led group of neighbors focused on building sustainable communities in order to address climate change.
Chard Your Yard volunteers have built and installed about 160 raised bed vegetable gardens in the greater Longfellow neighborhoods. “We plan to build, deliver, and fill dirt in 24 raised bed vegetable gardens for neighbors in zip code 55406,” say organizers. The garden beds are $70 which includes: a 3’x5’x12” wooden frame installed and delivered to your house, a site visit by a master gardener to find the perfect spot for your bed, a fill of nutrient rich dirt, and a Chard Your Yard sign.
“Through the generous support of Longfellow Community Council, we can offer a limited number of beds for low-income and senior citizen gardeners ($35) and double-high beds for gardeners with disabilities ($70),” say organizers. These beds are only available for people in Longfellow, Cooper, Howe and Hiawatha neighborhoods.
This event is completely volunteer based. Volunteers needed. Build and install the beds Wednesday, April 29 between 5-9 p.m and fill them Saturday, May 2nd from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (attendance for entire shifts not required). Registration to receive a bed opens March 15 and will close in April or when all beds are purchased. Visit www.transitionlongfellow.org/chard-your-yard for further information.

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So people won’t forget…

Posted on 11 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Novel focuses on mining strike of 1916

Longfellow author Megan Marsnik said she agreed with the statement made by author Toni Morrison: “If there is a book you want to read and you can’t find it, you must write it.” (Photo by Jan Willms)

By JAN WILLMS
Megan Marsnik wrote her novel “Under Ground,” based on the mining strike of 1916 in northern Minnesota so that people would not forget.
Marsnik teaches creative writing and philosophy in Minnesota and has written poetry, short stories and two unpublished novels. But when she returned to her home town of Bilabik on the Iron Range about 10 years ago for a class reunion, she sensed a story waiting to be told.
“I ran into a bunch of old friends, and I noted a lot of anti-union sentiment,” Marsnik recalled. “Up until then, the area had always been strongly pro-union and voted Democratic. We’re the reason we got Wellstone elected.” She said the Iron Range voters were strong supporters of candidates who stood for labor and human rights in general.
“Things were starting to shift,” Marsnik said. “Union membership was declining, dropping to between 6 and 11 percent. And a strange anti-immigrant sentiment was starting to crop up. I could see it sprouting and could not understand it.”
Marsnik said she, like most of her friends, is two generations removed from the immigrants who first settled in the Iron Range. She described herself as being very curious about why this anti-immigrant feeling was emerging.
“My theory is that people forget,” she claimed. “Once you are no longer hungry and have a job or insurance or a little money set aside in case your car breaks down, you start to forget the feelings of poverty.”

Suspenseful and traumatic
She started doing research into the mining strike of 1916, which had been a huge turning point on the Iron Range. Marsnik took a sabbatical from her teaching and researched for two years. “There was a strike in 1907 that failed, but in 1916 it was more a point of no return,” she said. “Almost everyone living on the Range was hugely impacted.”
As she started researching her book, Marsnik said she went on the ideological premise that stories can turn people’s minds. “This was a story that had not been told, and I know why,” she reflected. “It is rooted in trauma. It may seem suspenseful with twists and turns, but to the people who lived it, it was traumatizing. They did not want to talk about it.”
She said that even though she grew up on the Range, she and a lot of others did not know the stories. “I knew them better than most, because I worked at the Range Research Center. But many people had never told their own families these stories of violence and intimidation,” Marsnik said. “They were things people wanted to forget, but they should not be forgotten.”

Love poem to the Iron Range
Marsnik tells the story of “Under Ground” from the perspective of Katka, a young immigrant from Slovenia who journeys to Bilabik to live with her uncle and his family after her parents have died from typhoid. Although Marsnik is the granddaughter of immigrants, she said she had never envisioned herself as Katka. “I needed someone coming into the Range for the first time. If I had written from the perspective of someone like me, who had already been there, it would have been from a very different viewpoint,” she noted.
“Katka is one of the very few characters who is not based on someone real. She embodies things I admire, but I have been surprised by how much people like her. I did not work on her character very much; she was the storyteller.”
As the story progresses, however, Katka does become an Iron Ranger. “There is something that happens at the end of the book, and it had to happen that way,” Marsnik said. “It really is a love poem to the Iron Range.”
“Under Ground” first appeared in serialized form in the Star Tribune in 2015. “I finished the novel in 2014, and went back to work teaching and put it aside. But I saw an ad that the paper was looking for manuscripts that had an Iron Range connection,” Marsnik said. “I did not even think; I just sent it off and got a response in 24 hours, asking me to send the rest of the book. I was incredibly surprised, but it was a good choice. Thousands of people were able to read this story.”
The Star Tribune had the rights to the book for four years, but Marsnik was able to negotiate to get them back in three years. “Bill Burleson said he would publish, so I never even shopped it around,” she said. “I love his work, and we are friends. I just respect him. I know how hard it is to make it in the publishing world.”
The book came out this past July, and Marsnik immediately started touring with 11 readings. She said she very deliberately wrote the book for the people of northern Minnesota. “I launched it in my home town and then went to Ely and Madeline Island, among other locations,” she observed.

Book belongs to readers
Marsnik said she was telling her students a week or two ago about how to show and not tell. “I was telling them how to express emotion without saying it. You can be the best writer in the world and still not convey the emotion you want,” she said
“Once you have written a book, it is no longer yours,” Marsnik explained. “It becomes the emotion of your reader. That book is theirs. The story is very different depending on who is reading it.”
According to Marsnik, the people of northern Minnesota were so happy to have a book with characters with names that sounded like theirs.
Most of the local characters in “Under Ground” are fictional, but the union organizers who appear in the book are real. ‘It was a decision I had to make,” Marsnik said. “I wanted to make it clear that during the strike of 1916, everyone was watching. I think it’s important that Eugene Debs gets more attention than in history books.” She also wrote about union organizer Elizabeth Gurly Flynn. “I did a lot of research, and determined where she was at this month and time.”
Marsnik said the important thing for her is to just write, whether a book is published or not.
“A lot of people say they are writers, but they never write. A writer is one who writes. It has nothing to do with publishing. It is about the discipline,” she noted.
Even her students would laugh at her if they saw her process of research, Marsnik said. “I use different colors for characters, and I like to have my yellow notebook and put post-it notes on the wall. I like to be able to organize it myself,” she commented.
Marsnik said there is never a time she is not writing, and her next book of historical fiction is about Nina Clifford. ‘She was a really important woman in St. Paul who owned a brothel,” Marsnik said. “She was a mover and a shaker who started the first African American orphanage in the Twin Cities.”

History rhymes
Reflecting back on “Under Ground,” Marsnik said that if you look at reports from the time, stories were whitewashed to make the conditions sound less brutal than they were.
“I felt if people remembered these stories that have been forgotten, we may not repeat the mistakes. Someone said that history does not repeat itself, it just rhymes,” she remarked.
“I was thinking how is it possible people my age have anti-immigrant feelings, when their own parents and grandparents were immigrants.”
She wrote her book so people would not forget.

FLEXIBLE PRESS: A NEIGHBORHOOD-HOUSED BUSINESS

“Flexible Press is housed in the Longfellow neighborhood – literally housed, since it’s a home-based business. Or even more precisely, a neighborhood restaurant-based business, since that’s where we meet and I do most of my work.” said William Burleson. “In 2020, technology means we can farm out all the printing and distribution, so all that we need to do is focus on the writing.”
“I and a group of fellow writers started Flexible Press to give voice to authors and at the same time support the community and support mission-driven causes. We now have four books out, two of which we have devoted all the profit to local non-profits.”
“Under Ground” is the publishing company’s first novel. Burleson said he is excited to be able to help Megan put this important historical fiction out there at a time he thinks we really need to learn from history – namely histories of the labor movement, of immigration, and of women.
Next will be a poetry anthology called “Rewilding” from Split Rock Review and edited by Crystal Gibbons, who is a rising star in the world of poets. All the profits from that will go to Friends of the Boundary Waters.
“We hope that this is just a start. We want to grow while not drifting off our mission. There are just so many great authors who need to be heard, and so much opportunity to help along the way,” Burleson said.
More at www.flexiblepub.com.

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In Our Community Feb 2020

Posted on 11 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse: rethinking waste at Feb. 3 event

Curious to know where your recycling goes once the city hauls it away? Interested in learning more about zero-waste strategies? Not sure where to take your gear when it needs to be fixed? Join us at Matthews Park Recreation Center on Monday, Feb. 3 from 6-8 p.m. for an interactive, informational event to find out the answers to these questions and more. Featuring guest speakers:
• Kellie Kish, Recycling Coordinator with the City of Minneapolis
• Kate Marnach, Tare Market
• Nancy Ford, Repair Lair
This event is co-sponsored by the Longfellow Community Council’s Environment and River Gorge Committee and the Seward Neighborhood Group’s Environment Committee.

State sets Ford Area C dumpsite public meeting for Feb. 20

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has set the date for a public meeting on the Ford Area C riverfront dumpsite: Thursday, Feb. 20, 6-8 p.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul.
As reported in the November 2019 Messenger, the dumpsite is buried in the bluff across from Minnehaha Falls Park trails and dog park, and visible from the Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis.
On the St. Paul side, the dumpsite bluff section is just north of and adjacent to Hidden Falls Park, and south of the Ford bridge and long-closed steam plant.
While appearing normal from a distance, concrete chunks, rebar and other construction debris are visible in this off-limits but frequently trespassed area.
Such “filler” and rubble – dumped over the bluff from the mid-’60s to the early ’80s – covers barrels of industrial waste and liquid solvents.
Ford dumped industrial waste and solvents over the bluff from roughly 1945 to 1966. According to the MPCA, the company disposed of paint sludge and solvents. But precisely what was dumped or in what quantities remains unknown.
With the cleanup of Ford’s larger blufftop parcels complete, and their redevelopment into 3,800 housing units plus office and retail spaces given the green light, attention is now turning to the river or dumpsite parcel. (While the blufftop sections were originally Areas A and B, Ford’s riverfront property was known as Area C.)
Capitol Region Watershed District and Friends of the Mississippi River have been advocating for additional monitoring of the ground and surface water. The state has agreed to install additional wells and is exploring the feasibility of various cleanup options. The public is invited to learn more at the Feb. 20 meeting.

Art inspired by music
Welcome writers! Bring your written draft material to a weekly writers meeting. “We are a group of experienced writers who provide constructive feedback and support to fellow community wordsmiths,” explain organizer Jim Collette. “Whatever you write — fiction, poetry, memoir, history, essays — join us to sharpen your skills and fine-tune your work.” The writers group meets at Merriam Park Library, Marshall and Fairview avenues in St. Paul, every Thursday, 10:30-noon. Call 651-442-3544 for more information.

Elder Voices meets
Elder Voices (Telling Our Stories) will meet the fourth Friday of February (2/28). Elder Voices meets at Turtle Bread Company, 4205-34th St. at the corner of 42nd Ave. and 34th Street from 10-11:30 a.m. There will be time for people to tell or update their elder stories, the challenges and joys of elderhood. There will be a review of last months stories. There will be a discussion about participation in the 2020 Census.

Restorative Justice Fundraiser Feb. 15
The 10th annual Restorative Justice Fundraiser is set for Saturday, Feb. 15, 5-7:30 p.m. at The Hook and Ladder (3010 Minnehaha Ave.). It’s a night of wine, beer, and spirits tasting in support of Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice.Tickets now on sale at Zipps and Eventbrite for $25 or $30 at door. Enjoy jazz by Joel Shapira, delicious food from local restaurants, a silent auction, and dozens of samples of beer, wine, and spirits.

Intergenerational story time at Vet’s Home
February Baby/ Toddler Intergenerational Story Hour & Play Time at the Minnesota Veterans Home is Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Veterans read books and sing songs (with a ukulele player) for 1/2 an hour followed by 1/2 hour play/ craft time, all led by a recreation therapist. This is free and open to the public, and held monthly. Children of all ages are welcome, just know the songs and books are geared to little ones. The Minnesota Veterans Home is at 5101 Minnehaha Ave S. and the program is in the Building 19 Community Room. The facility is a nursing home within Minnehaha Falls Park. Contact Erin, erin.betlock@state.mn.us / 612 548 5751, to RSVP or with any questions.

Auditions planned
Classics Lost ‘n’ Found Theater Company, a community theater in south Minneapolis, has announced auditions for its spring 2020 production of William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Auditions will be held at Faith Mennonite Church (2720 E 22nd St.) on Monday, March 2 at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, March 4 at 7p.m. The cast will need seven men and seven women, ranging in age from 15-70, with 4 of them in the 20-40 age range, and technical staff. This in a non-union, non-paying production. For more information, contact Noreen Brandt at 612-724-4539 or email classicslostandfound@gmail.com.
Veggies classes set
The Veggie Basics class offered by Transition Longfellow runs for 4 Saturdays in April: April 4, April 11, April 18 and April 25 from 10 11:30 a.m., in the community room at Gandhi Mahal (3009 27th Ave So.). It is taught by various Hennepin County master gardeners. Cost for the entire series is $10. Beverages will be served. For questions about class content, email reierson.deb@gmailcom. For questions about registration or payment, email boyleaj3@gmail.com.
Learning garden tour
One of Minnesota’s most anticipated summer gardening events – the 2020 Hennepin County Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour being held on Saturday, July 11, 2020 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This self-guided tour includes nine gardens from Prospect Park to Edina and into Linden Hills. The variety of gardens on this year’s annual tour offer many learning opportunities. They include eight home gardens designed and tended by Master Gardener volunteers, as well as one Community Garden. At each garden you’ll meet Master Gardeners who garden not only for their enjoyment, but to contribute to the health of our local ecosystem. Buy tickets and learn more at www.hennepinmastergardeners.org.

 

LoLa’s Winter Fine Art Exhibition offers tasting menu of works

The League of Longfellow Artists (LoLa) welcomes everyone to the third annual Winter Fine Art Exhibition at Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Ave. in Longfellow, Feb. 22–23 and Feb. 29–Mar. 1.
Meet the artists and enjoy refreshments and music at the opening, Feb. 22, 5–7 p.m., during which a DJ from Solsta Records will spin vintage vinyl. Libations at the reception include wine, beer, and nonalcoholic beverages, and the table will be spread with an array of sweet and savory snacks. Gallery hours are noon to 5 each day. All events are free, family friendly, and open to the public.
It’s a local art tasting menu because artists select just one or two pieces to showcase at this event, ensuring room for all the LoLa artists who want to exhibit their work together in one spot. See what these Longfellow artists have been up to and make note of those you may want to visit during this year’s LoLa Art Crawl, Sept. 19–20.
Artwork will be for sale at the discretion of the artists, who set their prices and receive all proceeds from any sales. Exhibited works span a wide variety of media and styles, including paintings (oil, acrylic, watercolor) on canvas, board, and paper, photographs on paper and metal, printmaking, mixed media, mosaics, and sculpture.

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Longfellow Businesses: LBA wants to hear from you

Posted on 11 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

This March, the Longfellow Business Association (LBA) is hosting focus group to learn how to better support the business community in the Greater Longfellow Area. “We’re interested in hearing from business owners about the tools, resources, connections we can offer to help your business thrive,” explained Kim Jakus.” If your business falls into one of the following categories, consider joining us: Industrial Business, Minority or Immigrant owned Business, Next Generation / Millennial owned Business, or Arts & Entertainment
Lunch will be provided and all participants will receive a $20 gift card to a local Longfellow business. For more information, as well as dates and times, please contact Kim at kim@longfellowbusinessassociation.org or 612-298-4699.

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NENA update February 2020

Posted on 03 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

NENA Crock-Pot Cook-Off
Bring your family and friends to the 3rd Annual Great Nokomis East Crock-Pot Cook-Off, now with a meat raffle, on Saturday, Saturday, Feb. 29, 6- 7:30 p.m., at the Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church (5011 S 31st Ave.)! Revel in these two Minnesota traditions in one night. All proceeds raised from this event will go towards NENA’s programs and initiatives in Nokomis East. It’s a truly stew-pendous event!
Minnesotans know how to whip up a dish in a pot. Have a soup-erb recipe you would like to show off? Is your specialty a traditional cream of mushroom delight or do you have something a little bit more exotic? Let the community be the judge of who will be the 20120 Cook-Off Champ. Did we mention there will be a trophy?
This is a family-friendly event. Ingredients will be listed for each entry to avoid allergies or food sensitivities. More information, including the registration form, is available on the NENA website: http://nokomiseast.org/nenas-crock-pot-cook-off-is-back/ .

Meatless movie night
There has been plenty of discussion recently about the positive impacts of a plant-rich diet or a locally sourced diet on climate change. But what does that look like exactly? Join NENA’s Green Initiatives Committee for a “Meatless Movie Night” on Friday, Feb. 21, 5:30 -7:30 p.m. at the Morris Park Recreation Center (5531 39th Ave. S.). Sample meat alternatives like the Impossible Burger and watch a documentary about food sustainability. This event is casual, so bring a blanket to stretch out on or even wear your PJ’s. We won’t judge.

NENA Home Loan Program
NENA is now offering two home improvement loan programs. Homes in the Keewaydin, Minnehaha, Morris Park and Wenonah neighborhoods are eligible.  Loan applications are processed on a first-come first served basis.
For more information or to request an application, call the Center for Energy and Environment at (612) 335-5884, or visit the CEE website.

Meetings and events:
2/5/20: NENA Housing, Commercial, and Streetscape Committee, NENA Office, 6:30 p.m.
2/12/20: NENA Green Initiatives Committee, NENA Office, 6:30 p.m.
2/24/18: NENA Board Meeting, NENA Office, 7:00 p.m.

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Use Enneagram as tool for self-discovery this year

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Workshop host Holly Johnson shares why she values it and how it is helpful

Holly Johnson teaches workshops locally on the Enneagram.

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Holly Johnson is committed to helping people better understand themselves and others through the Enneagram. She offers regular workshops on this tool. The next is slated for Feb. 11, 2020 from 6-9 p.m. at Squirrel Haus Arts. Go to spiritgarage.org to find out more info and register.
Johnson is also pastor at Spirit Garage, which meets at the Hook and Ladder Theater and Lounge. She paused while writing two holiday sermons in December to share a bit more about the Enneagram with the Messenger.
Just what is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is a tool to help us understand how we live, move, see and respond in the world. It lays out nine basic styles of people, though there are an infinite number of expressions of each of the nine numbers.
What drew you to the Enneagram and how have you found it valuable in your own life?
When I was in seminary out in Berkeley, Calif., everyone was talking about it. I was drawn to it because I like tools for self discovery, and also tools for understanding other people.
Some people think its funny to have a pastor do this kind of work; certain kinds of Christianity think that anything that doesn’t come out of the Bible comes from the Devil. I’m not that kind of a pastor. I believe in studying all kinds of things, and self-awareness helps us understand our styles of spirituality better, as well.
What is your Enneagram number?
I understand myself to be a “social two with a three wing, and a super well-traveled 8 line.” And if that doesn’t make sense to you but you’re intrigued, come to a workshop!

Courtesy of the Enneagram Institute

How can people use the Enneagram as a tool for self-discovery?
The Enneagram helps us understand that we see and experience the world in a particular way, like a lens. Understanding that we have a lens, and that it is different from other people’s, helps us see what motivates us, and how that shapes our lives. Sometimes this lens sees things accurately, and sometimes it is distorting things. Bringing an awareness to this helps us see where our way of being is helpful, and where it might be hurting us or others. Once we have that awareness, maybe we can think about a different way to see things or respond.
In what ways can the Enneagram help people live in harmony with others?
Similarly, when we figure out that other people see the world in different ways, and have different motivations, hopefully we can bring some grace into our relationships and quit trying to make everyone believe, act, behave and respond the way we do. For example, one of the types (sixes) is going to plan for all possible problems that might arise before you go on vacation. That’s okay – just let them do that. They’ll be prepared for things you never thought of. Another type (eights) has a tendency to have a pretty large presence in a room, and can be quite intimidating to people. Another type (nines) doesn’t like making decisions, particularly if it means siding with one person and not another. So, if they never have an opinion about where you should go to dinner, that’s probably why.
How can the Enneagram help people achieve better health and wellness?
The Enneagram is a tool for emotional intelligence, so as a tool, it helps us bring awareness (and hopefully grace) to our own way of being, and also helps in relation to one another. Emotional intelligence is an important indicator in job success, and helpful in relationships of all kinds.
What resources do you recommend people use to learn more about the Enneagram?
I’m enjoying “The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. That’s a book and a podcast.

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Inside schooling decisions

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Get a glimpse into the lives of local families who are navigating through the many educational choices available today, and forging a path that fits their families.

The Hide family

HOMESCHOOL

Meet Longfellow resident Julianne Hide, parent of Landon (age 10), Holden (7), and Isla (3). She’s married to Phil.
Why did you select this school?
We began homeschooling when my eldest started to suffer with anxiety at school. We did our best to address the issue, but he was not happy at school. After looking into options for other schools we decided to give homeschool a try. We’re into our third year now. It’s so much fun to learn together.
What do you appreciate most?
We greet each day with the idea of doing what feels right. Sometimes we stick with the plan, sometimes we grab an opportunity to get outside and enjoy the weather. We go to nature center programs, theaters and museums. The kids are able to pursue their area of interest in long sessions uninterrupted. Play is part of everyday. We attend a homeschool group each week and have made many friends.
What are the challenges?
The challenges have come in the form of being willing to accept that each homeschool day looks different depending on the mood of the kids. Sometimes we have to change the plan. Our daily rhythm also has to adapt to the needs of the kids as they change. As long as I’m willing to keep going with the flow I know everything will be fine!
What skills do you think are most important for schools to teach kids in 2020?
I think the skills needed for 2020 revolve around getting people to work together to solve problems. Creative thinking. Good communication skills. The strength to believe in yourself.
Share your school hacks or tips.
I think the best ‘hack’ I’ve come across is actually just really talking with him my kids and letting them help guide our learning. Anytime I let them lead they blow me away with their willingness to work.

 

COMMUNITY SCHOOL:
Northrop Elementary

Meet Gina Brusseau, PTA President at Northrop Elementary School, a K-5 school at 4315 S. 31st Ave. She is mom to Finnegan (grade 2) and Stella, who will be a kindergartner in fall 2020. Rounding out the family is her step-daughter Becca and husband Karl.
Why did you select this school?
We chose Northrop because it was our neighborhood school, had an environmental STEM focus, and had a great reputation in the neighborhood. Big factor: late start.
What do you appreciate most?
We love the community, the entire staff is awesome, and the teachers are dedicated.
What are the challenges?
Diversity – as it is declining based on the demographics of the neighborhood. We wish we had more diversity representing an urban school.
What skills do you think are most important for schools to teach kids in 2020?
Social emotional learning, environmental, STEM, working hard, teamwork, individuality, respect, and caring for others.
Share your school hacks or tips.
Be involved with your kids education, be involved with your PTA, volunteer when you can, and connect with other families.

CHARTER SCHOOL:
Career Pathways

Meet Kelina Morgan, whose daughter Nasi is in ninth grade at Career Pathways, one of the Minnesota Transitions Charter School options.
Why did you select this school?
I chose Career Pathways for her because it was close to my employer, and it offered a non-traditional way of learning, with small class sizes.
What do you appreciate most?
Career Pathways also is a welcoming place with diversity of race, culture, religion, and sexual orientation. It’s a place where my daughter feels a sense of belonging. We’ve lived in various cities, including Vadnais Heights and Somerset, Wis. It was important to me that she attended a school where the staff and students welcome diversity.
What skills do you think are most important for schools to teach kids in 2020?
I believe that acceptance and appreciation for differences is a valuable skill to learn, as well as life skills needed to find and maintain a career if college is not the choice.
Share your school hacks or tips.
Because education is important to us and can open many doors, our family hacks on how to help kids learn are 1) read to kids early and daily, 2) require they read at least 20 minutes five days a week, and 3) purchase workbooks for their next grade level that they complete over the summer breaks to continue learning.

 

IMMERSION SCHOOL:
Yinghua Academy

Meet South Minneapolis resident Starr Eggen Lim, who is married to Albert. Her daughter Lily is now in 11th grade at Highland Park High School, and daughter Magdalena is currently a ninth grader at Highland Park High School. They are at Highland because Yinghua Academy has an agreement that kids can continue their Chinese education at an appropriate level at Highland Park in St. Paul.
Why did you select this school?
I chose Yinghua Academy because it is a total immersion school meaning that the entire school is focused on Chinese and not just one area or several classrooms. Being that our children are Asian and adopted, it was a good fit as they would learn much about their birth culture as well as having Asian role models and influence. Many kids at that time who were attending the school were also adopted from China, so I felt it would help normalize their experience as kids and adolescents. I had read many books about some of the difficulties Korean adoptees had in the 1970s who grew up in rural areas with little acknowledgement about their birth countries or even issues being racially different than most of their peers. I really wanted to find a school that would allow my kids the opportunity to be around many other Asian kids and many who also had similar birth stories.
What do you appreciate most?
Having my kids learn to read, write and speak Mandarin has so many advantages. If they ever chose to search for their birth parents, or even wanted to live or experience their birth country, having the language and cultural understanding would help to cross over so many barriers that could inhibit that from happening. I also wanted to give them the opportunity to feel at ease around other kids in college who may be international students from their birth country, whereby they could understand and feel a part of that community. I had read that some kids who were never given these opportunities would sometimes go to college and didn’t feel like they fit in with the Caucasian population (even though these kids had grown up in “white” culture), so were initially not accepted into those circles… And even though they looked like the Asian international students, they did not fit in there because they did not understand the culture, so were not initally accepted there either.
Yinghua Academy not only provided this backdrop for my kids, but also having a second language like Mandarin allows so many doors to be opened for them. When learning a second language at the tender age of five, kids absorb things so much easier. Having the ability to read, write and speak can open potential careers opportunities, as well. The school’s academic expectations are quite rigorous and kids have adapted well into all kinds of high school experiences. I liked that the school uses Singapore math, allows for different levels of learning in math and Chinese, and provides many extra curricular activities after school. They also put on a dynamic Chinese New Year program every year which is held at Bethel University, and is almost always sold out. As adoption from China has slowed, Yinghua Academy continues to grow as many kids from all sorts of backgrounds attend the school.
What are the challenges?
Chinese Immersion is not for everyone. Yinghua does have some expectations for kids to do quite a bit of learning in a more traditional style and hasn’t, at least in my experience, allowed for a lot of diversity in teaching styles or methods. Parents need to be in tune to what their specific child’s needs are and how best to meet those, but Yinghua has worked well for our family.
What skills do you think are most important for schools to teach kids in 2020?
As far as the most important skills for kids to learn, I would think preparing them to be global citizens is a priority. Language immersion does help to accomplish this. Critical thinking is probably one of the most important skills for kids to learn as our current administration (in my opinion) has become so harsh on scientific research, facts, and the media in general. Learning how to decipher facts from fiction and how to ask questions is critical to our society’s survival as a democracy.

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