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Local student wins Junior Men’s National Cyclocross Championship

Posted on 24 January 2017 by calvin

Nick Carter also won 2016 Mountain Bike Championship; has been asked to race with Team USA when he’s 16

By JAN WILLMS
For Nick Carter, becoming a cyclocross racer seemed a natural step. The 14-year-old South High student lives in the Howe neighborhood with his parents, Doug and Katie Carter. And his dad was doing cyclocross racing before Nick was born.

“Cyclocross is a form of bike racing where you’re on a normal road bike with wider, knobbier tires,” Carter said. “The course is a mix of dirt and pavement with obstacles thrown in.”

Nick Carter 0037On Jan. 10, Carter won the USA Cycling Cyclocross Junior Men’s National Championship at the National Championship races in Hartford, CT (photo right). He previously won the Junior Varsity Division II Mountain Bike Championship in 2016. He was selected to attend an Olympic development session at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He has also been asked to race with Team USA in Europe in two summers when he will be 16.

Nick Carter 0035He completed the Hartford course in 31 minutes and 53 seconds, taking the lead after the climb up Bonk Breaker Hill (photo left) and holding it to the end.

“The course in Connecticut is right next to a river, and there’s a dike in case the river overflows,” Carter explained. “You start out at the bottom and go diagonally up it. You figure out which line to take up the dike. The hill is probably like a normal flight of stairs in height.”

Carter said it had snowed the day of the race, and his practice riding in Minnesota had greatly helped him prepare for it. “Lots of the others were falling, and it really helped to be from Minnesota,” he quipped.

Carter said he got his first bike when he was three, and his father helped him get in a race when he was 9. “I watched my dad race, and he got me into cyclocross,” he added.

Although his school does not offer cyclocross as a sport, mountain biking is a new addition to its sports program this year. “I’ve got two of my friends doing the mountain bike team, and we practice with Southwest and Washburn, so there are about 40 kids,” Carter said. He is on Northstar Development, a junior development team that helps riders under the age of 18 develop into better riders.

RUN Nick with his Coach IMG_0044Photo left: Nick Carter (left) and his coach, Charlie Townsend. (Photo submitted)

Carter said he prepares for a race by practicing strength work-ups three to four days during the week. He then rides around three hours, getting ready. “I also get to the race course a few days early and practice on the riding course,” he said.

He said that cyclocross has been around for quite a while and has gotten more popular in recent years. It is mostly based in Europe. “There was a World Cup Race in Iowa City last year, and it was broadcast in Europe,” Carter noted. “More people watched it in Europe than the number who watched the Super Bowl here in the United States.”

Carter said he can see himself riding as a professional. “There are a ton of scholarships through cycling in general for college,” he said. Although the sport is not yet a part of the Olympics, there are many who are working to get cyclocross as a part of the competition.

And when that happens, Nick Carter hopes to be there.

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Teen homelessness can be hard to spot; schools on the front line

Posted on 24 January 2017 by calvin

Photo and article by MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
South High Homeless Kids 06Sheri Harris (photo right) has been a social worker at South High School for 22 years. She works with students in 11th and 12th grades and said, “I see the stress level of our students rising. Sometimes its academic stress, or the stress of expectations, but for students struggling with homelessness it’s definitely the stress of unmet basic needs.”

Harris estimated that “over the course of a school year, our staff will recognize 50-60 students as homeless, highly mobile, or precariously housed. There are easily 20-30 more that we don’t know about. Sometimes it can be hard to tell.”

That’s because the students themselves may not realize they have a housing disruption. If the situation is chronic, it just becomes their version of normal. There’s also no one definition of homelessness. It can mean families live in shelters together or youth live in shelters alone. It can mean youth sleep on buses or trains, in metro stations or cars, or couch surf with friends or relatives. The first red flag is usually poor attendance at school.

“Everyone in our building has to work together,” Harris explained. “Teachers are on the front line, as they have the most regular contact with students. If a teacher notices a student appears tired a lot, is unkempt, has a fuller backpack than usual, or is very protective of their belongings—he or she will reach out to that student.”

“If the student is struggling with homelessness or related issues,” Harris said, “the teacher will ask to make a referral to a social worker. Here at South, our four-person social work staff is in the business of ‘resource brokering.’ We find ways for students to get their basic needs met so that they can come to school classroom ready.”

There are several programs in place at South to help all students succeed; these programs especially help to level the playing field for homeless and highly mobile students.

The School Based Clinic provides everything from sports physicals to reproductive health exams, to mental health counseling.

South is one of four schools in Minneapolis that offers fully licensed, on-site childcare and parenting classes for teen parents.

The Kopp Family Foundation has donated generously to South High School for years through their Random Acts of Kindness Program, making it possible for students who couldn’t otherwise attend field trips and special programs, go to prom, buy a yearbook or school supplies.

Similarly, Minneapolis Public Schools provides assistance through their School Success Fund for Students on the Move.

Students experiencing housing insecurity (as well as those receiving free and reduced lunch) are eligible for free MTC transit passes to make getting to school easier.

A valuable on-line resource for students experiencing homelessness is something called the Youth Services Network, which can be accessed at https://ysnmn.org. The website lists very current information about daytime and overnight shelters, drop-in centers, outreach workers, food, medical care, crisis counseling, or help with parenting. In the recent deep-freeze, a banner across the top of the website issued a cold weather warning and a list of emergency daytime shelters.

The Minneapolis Public Schools are guided by the Mc­Kinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. This federal law provides homeless and highly mobile students with certain rights, so they will be able to meet the same standards expected of all students in the district. One of those rights is to attend the same school consistently, even if housing in the district ceases to exist.

Ryan Strack is the Minneapolis Public School’s District Liaison for Homeless and Highly Mobile Youth, and it’s his job to make sure the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act are met. Describing his job, he said, “A third of my time is spent cultivating relationships with outside agencies like shelters, another third is spent strengthening connections with school staff district-wide, and the rest of my time is spent with the logistics of getting homeless and highly mobile youth enrolled in schools.”

Strack continued, saying, “Our youth on the move are pretty industrious. For the 2015-2016 school year, we recorded 961 9th-12th graders as homeless or highly mobile throughout the district. Some have left home on their own accord because of perceived safety issues. We think that 25-40% of the overall number are LGBTQ, and may be homeless because their parents have kicked them out.”

“We need more affordable housing options and shelter spaces for homeless and highly mobile youth, and better jobs,” Strack concluded. “The most challenging part of working with these kids is that so many factors are beyond our control.”

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Life of an urban musher captivates imagination of local resident

Posted on 24 January 2017 by calvin

By JAN WILLMS
Longfellow resident Russell Booth had not planned to become an urban musher. “I was going to be a skijorer,” he said. Skijoring is a sport in which an individual is pulled by a dog or by a motorized vehicle on skis.

20161214_192339_007Photo right: Russell Booth, is a modern urban musher. But, Booth has garnered some additional skills in addition to mushing. He makes some of his own clothing, including the heavy mittens he wears. (Photo by Jan Willms)

But when Booth adopted his dog, Parker, a Red Siberian Husky, from the Humane Society, he knew skijoring with him was not going to work.

“I talked to some other people in the dog park within days of getting him. A vet tech I met told me I could get a scooter,” Booth noted. “So now the scooter is the main thing we use, and I also have a kick sled.”

“When I got him, he had no training,” Booth continued. “He did not know his name, he was not housebroken, and he had no bonding. He did not know how to pull.”

20160425_211553RiversideStationHiawathaLRTPhoto right: Russell Booth and his dog Parker at the Riverside Station Hiawatha LRT. (Photo submitted)

Booth said it easy in warmer weather to practice with Parker using his bike, with a 14-inch lead so that he could keep him under control. But when he tried to walk him around the neighborhood, the dog was hard to handle because he was so powerful.

Although he wanted him to pull a scooter or sled, he did not want him pulling all the time when walking him.

“He never stopped pulling, and that caused a lot of damage to my body and a lot of stress, and so I was getting very frustrated with him,” Booth said.

“I used a kill collar, but I could see he was going to kill himself with that, so I took it off,” he related. “I tried two kinds of gentle leaders, and he couldn’t pull as hard, but he still pulled all the time.”

Booth said someone in his neighborhood told him about wrapping a leash around the dog’s body and then over itself. As the dog pulls, the leash tightens around its body. “That kind of worked, except it seemed no amount of pain could get him to stop pulling I could see he might damage his internal organs, so I made a modification so I could loop the leash to itself behind where it connected to his collar, squeezing only on his rib cage so he could not do as much damage to himself, but he still pulled as hard as he could all the time,” Booth said.

“I invented something which I later found was invented in South Africa, so I am not the first inventor,” Booth said. “It’s like a backpack strap in reverse. You put it on him figure 8 so part of it goes around each of his shoulders and that connects to his collar, and it slips through on his back so that as he pulls, the squeezing goes around his body more, and that seemed to work the best.”

However, nothing seemed to stop Parker from pulling when Booth wanted to walk him around the neighborhood. “I was worried I was not going to be able to walk with him, and I had lived with therapy and was healed up again, but I was in chronic pain.” Booth said nothing seemed to prevent his dog from pulling when walking, and he thought he would have to return him to the Humane Society. “They would probably consider him unadoptable and have to put him down,” he added.

“There was one thing I had not tried to do, and that was beating him, which I don’t recommend anyone do. But beating him saved his life because he responded to me. He came around immediately. And it became mandatory for me to cuddle with him an hour every night. One thing I know about huskies, if you can save them, they are pretty emotionally needy. So my dog is pretty emotionally needy.”

20160124_134332HiawathaParkPhoto right: It took some time, and trial and error, for urban musher Booth to get his dog Parker to bond with him. Now, the Red Siberian Husky demands an hour of cuddling every night. Here Parker is taking a breather in Hiawatha Park. (Photo submitted)

Booth said that when you are urban mushing with a scooter and running a draft animal, you have to have enough stopping power that can exceed the pulling power. “There are two places in North America where they manufacture these scooters,” he continued. “One is in Alaska, and the other is here in Minnesota.”

“The scooter is designed with a secondary braking system,” Booth said. “When I set my scooter down, resting on a tripod of three metal points, it is very hard for a dog to drag. That was intentionally designed into the scooter.”

Minnesota is one of the centers of mushing, according to Booth. “It is just as good as Alaska,” he claimed. He and Parker have mushed to 12 other cities. “We have gone from 694, crossed the bridge from Brooklyn Center in Fridley before we started heading back, and we have been as far as downtown St. Paul. We have been out to Hopkins, Eagan, and Bloomington.”

20160612_092825BrackettParkBooth takes a walk with Parker every morning and most nights, even through the summer. “Most mushers take the summer off, but my dog doesn’t have it in him to take the summer off,” Booth said.

He gives him Premium Kibble and feeds him meat two times a day. “He eats more meat than I do,” Booth commented. “Now he is very affectionate,” he added. ‘He doesn’t have the typical husky problem, escaping and running away.”

Parker can mush up to 20 miles per hour, but he and Booth do an average speed over six miles of 4.5 to 5 miles per hour. “We go on sidewalks and alleys. It’s okay to be on the streets, but he prefers sidewalks. And it’s safer,” Booth noted. He said there are lots of trails available, with over 3,000 miles of trails within Minneapolis.

Booth said urban mushers are limited to one dog. “Two dogs are in violation of city ordinance.”

20160905_124822Triptych aPhoto left: Urban Musher Booth also has spent enough time in dog parks that he has started creating rock sculptures. He has built many of them in local park areas. (Photo submitted)

He said his Norwegian kicksled is designed to be operated by a person, but can also be hooked up to a dog. And with his scooter, he doesn’t need snow. But he has learned a lot about staying warm in winter temperatures that he didn’t know.

“I learned how to keep my water from freezing and dressing in layers. I knew from skiing to dress in layers, but with skiing you’re always active and with mushing, you’re just standing there most of the time,” Booth explained. “I wear up to eight thin layers, and every layer is like a click on your thermostat. Mushers say if you’re sweating, you are working too hard and you need to have the dog work harder.”

Booth has garnered some additional skills from mushing. He makes some of his own clothing, including the heavy mittens he wears. He also has spent enough time in dog parks that he has started creating rock sculptures.

This is Booth’s fourth winter of mushing, and the sport has so enthused him that he doesn’t consider skijoring anymore. He said he and Parker take turns navigating. “Parker knows his way around so much he could be a cab driver,” Booth joked.

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Mary Hanson views show as conduit between experts and public

Posted on 24 January 2017 by calvin

Nation’s longest running, independently produced cable show producer calls South Minneapolis home

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Standish-Ericsson resident and television producer Mary Hanson has been giving a voice to others for over 36 years.

“The Mary Hanson Show” is the longest running independently produced cable show in the United States. It has also been on public television since 1995.

The award-winning show focusing on health and social issues started on a whim.

At age 35, Hanson, a social work consultant attended training at the University of Minnesota. As the speaker ended and the lights went up, Hanson was dismayed to see that the brilliant speaker had an audience of about only 15 people. “I thought, ‘what a shame,’” recalled Hanson, now 73. “He should have had a packed house.”

Reatha_Mary_Photo_Tr#737443Photo left: Mary Hanson (right) interviews Reatha Clark King in August 2016 for an episode about “Race Relations.” Clark King grew up picking cotton. She earned her PhD and then worked as President of Metro State and V.P. at General Mills. She also was involved in research that was used with the space program, a popular topic right now due to the recently released movie, “Hidden Figures,” about other African American women who were a big part of the space program. (Photo courtesy of Tracy Walsh)

Mulling over the problem on her drive to work, Hanson passed by the KCHK-AM radio station she went past every day. “I didn’t think about it for one minute. I careened into the parking lot,” she remembered, walked in and asked to speak to the station manager.

He listened to her idea and then told her that he’d been looking for a way to connect with the community. She could do it–if she could find a sponsor.

Back at the nursing home where she worked, Hanson asked the administrator if he’d sponsor her radio show. He, too, had been wanting to do something for the community.

And just like that, Hanson had a show. Her next step was to buy a good tape recorder.

She’s always found it serendipitous that both of the men she talked to that day had been looking for a way to build community and give back.

Three good questions
Hanson’s show, first with the radio station and later with the fledgling cable companies, has always provided a forum for thoughtful, in-depth conversation.

She started with a five-minute show, learning that you can ask three good questions in that time frame. Soon her station manager gave her 10 minutes and kept upping it until she had a half hour show. She has found that for most topics, a half hour gives her enough time to go into depth on the issue. For those that need more, she breaks the topic up into a series, such as the 10-show series on understanding depression and suicide. Hanson pointed out that it is rare these days to get a news show that focuses on one topic for a half hour.

As a trained social worker, Hanson already knew how to ask families hard questions, so it came easily during the show. She has explored psychosocial topics such as blended families and anxiety, while branching out to medical concerns such as Alzheimer’s, infertility, and cancer treatments. Plus she features environmental topics and interviews local leaders.

From the start, she wasn’t afraid to call experts, authors, and other well-known people for interviews. They all said yes.

For her pilot cable show in 1980, Hanson scheduled Tom Wright, a marriage and family therapist, and professor, whom she had interviewed previously for her radio show, and picked a comfortable topic. That way Hanson knew that if she got too nervous and dropped the ball, Wright could carry it.

Dudley & M_Photo right: Mary Hanson (right) recently interviewed Dudley Riggs, the Founder of Brave New Workshop and man who helped launch the comedy careers of Al Franken, Jim Belushi and other. His new book, “Flying Funny: My Life Without a Net,” coming out in April will be the topic of a show this spring. (Photo submitted)

As time went on, she started spending more time on the Mary Hanson Show and less as a social worker. However, she still works one day a week as a social worker consultant at Catholic ElderCare, leading support groups and bringing in speakers for families—many of which she’s interviewed for the show.

Making a difference
One of the toughest parts of the job is finding underwriters and soliciting grants. Because she’s not on anyone’s staff, she is responsible for securing funding for her show. In addition to large companies such as Blue Cross and the Hennepin County Mental Health Association, individual donors help keep her show on the air.

“I’d rather be doing something that makes a difference than working a job where I could have a large salary,” stated Hanson.

K.Drummer_prep. for intervPhoto left: Over the years, Mary Hanson (right) has interviewed thousands of leaders and experts, including Kelly Drummer, the President and CEO of Tiwahe Foundation which preserves American Indian culture and supports American Indians with micro-grants. The Foundation office is located in south Minneapolis behind Savers. (Photo submitted)

The various awards and honors she’s received over the years have been a shot in the arm when she’s feeling on her own. One of the most special awards she received was the Hennepin County Mental Health Association’s C.A.R.E. award in 1985 for excellent educational work.

Hanson strives to present a range of topics that appeal to a variety of people, and she’s received comments from viewers that span Paul Wellstone’s public relations staff to the clerk at Super America.

Up next
For Mary, the hard part isn’t finding topics for the show…it’s narrowing them down.

“In Minneapolis and St. Paul, we have this great bunch of people. You could interview someone every day and not run out,” said Hanson.

The leadership interviews stretch her, as she feels that her strength is helping present complicated topics in a way that viewers can understand them. But she believes it is important to record the stories of leaders so they are part of the historical record. Of the 150 she’s interviewed, about 28 have died. “I’m so thankful I had the chance to get them on film,” said Hanson.

She’s working on how to package past shows together by theme to have available in libraries, schools, and history centers.

Work on translating the depression awareness series into Spanish is wrapping up. It will appear on cable and TPT in the United States and possibly Mexico. Hanson would like to do more on this topic, delving into the experience of teens and veterans with depression.

Hanson’s next mini-series will be on sex trafficking, a topic she’s working on with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

Over the years, Hanson has observed some shifts on social and health issues. An interview she conducted with two men dying of AIDS in the 1980s is embedded in her memory. Back then it was a terminal condition. Today, the future is brighter.

But unfortunately, others are the same, such as child abuse and sexual abuse, and need more uncovering. Last fall, she interviewed Josie Johnson, a nationally known civil rights activist who was also the first African American woman on the Board of Regents at the U of M. When it comes to race relations, “she thinks things are actually worse now,” remarked Hanson.

Over the years, Hanson has interviewed thousands of people, including many who live near her 100-year-old South Minneapolis home, such as Lisa Larges, Outreach Coordinator for the Minnesota State Services for the Blind, and Jack Reuler, founder and Artistic Director of the Mixed Blood Theatre. Other South Minneapolis interviewees include: attorney Joanie Moberg; Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin; Kelly Drummer, Tiwahe Foundation; US Congressman Keith Ellison; DFL Minnesota Representative Frank Hornstein; former US Representative Martin Sabo (now deceased); Tina Feigal, author, parent educator; Cam and Paul Rogers, talking about raising a child with disabilities; Camille Hanson on “An American Artist Abroad”; Roosevelt High School students talking about “The Teen Years” with author, Gisela Konopka, PHD; and stay-at-home dads Steve Richards and Josh Moberg.

Purpose in life and work
Hanson is 73, but she doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon. This is the work that gives her purpose.
“For me, the idea of being a conduit to bring the ideas, vision, knowledge and resources from the guests to the broader population has always motivated me,” remarked Hanson.

“There’s also the personal reward of working with people who are brilliant and dedicated to what they’re doing,” she added. It makes for an enriching experience for not just Hanson, but also her crew of volunteers.

With the 20 hours of research and preparation that she puts in, each show feels like taking a mini college course. “It’s an exciting benefit,” said Hanson.

The Mary Hanson show just completed its 20th season on TPT 2.2 and can be viewed on public television 26 to 30 weeks a year. It is on cable year round, appearing on Channel 6, the Metro Cable Network, which interconnects the 14 cable systems in the seven-county area, as well as the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), the Minneapolis Television Network (MTN), and the Duluth/Superior cable system (PACT). Each show that she does is broadcast at least four times on public television and 17 times on cable. For schedules, browse www.maryhansonshow.com.

Upcoming shows
On the schedule for Mary Hanson this next year are:
• Betty McCollum, US Congresswoman, 4th district. This environmental advocate is underappreciated in the state, according to Hanson.
• Larry Long, South Minneapolis troubadour, singer, educator who has focused his music on social justice.
• Dudley Riggs, founder of Brave New Workshop, who has written a book about his experience growing up in the circus
• James Jordan, MD, Former Medical Director of the Hamm Psychiatric Clinic
• Alzheimers in the Community, which will run as a sequel to the TPT documentary on Alzheimers
More at www.maryhansonshow.com.

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When illness hit Blue Moon owner, neighborhood offered support

Posted on 24 January 2017 by calvin

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Lisa Berg Blue Moon ownerBlue Moon coffee shop (3822 E. Lake St.) owner Lisa Berg (photo right) is almost done paying off her medical bills, thanks to neighborhood residents and friends who donated $20,000 through Go Fund Me.

“That was a godsend,” stated Berg. “It blew me away.”

After insurance, Berg was left with $40,000 in bills from her hospitalization and subsequent rehabilitation. “I’m a pretty low-income person, so it was a jolt,” admitted 58-year-old Berg. She dug into her life savings, but still came up short.

That’s where the Go Fund Me came in.

As she wrote on the fundraising page: “Your help will go directly to pay the bills. It means so much to me because although asking for help feels difficult, I have to.”

She had to relearn everything
Two winters ago, Berg was fighting what she thought was just a cold that hung on and on. “I just thought I had a bug,” recalled Berg, but she was so very tired. One day her sister and niece visited and could tell that things weren’t right. They called an ambulance.

At Regions, Berg was diagnosed with influenza that led to kidney failure. Following her hospital stay, she spent five weeks at Walker Methodist Health Center.

“I had to learn everything again,” said Berg. “How to walk. How to count change. Sitting up in bed. Dressing myself.”

She praises both the staff at Regions and Walker Methodist for their care and hopes to be able to get to Walker Methodist soon to thank staff personally, although she’s waiting until she doesn’t have to maneuver through the snow. “It was kinda hard—they really work you,” remarked Berg. “But the staff there is outstanding.” Her wonderful occupational therapist started crying when she took her first steps.

Berg left the rehabilitation facility in a walker and returned to her second-story apartment in St. Paul. It was six months before she could make it down the stairs. Each day she practiced stepping down one step and then up. Down and up. Then she added another. Then she could make it down five steps. Finally, she made it down all 17 steps and sat on a bench. To celebrate, she posted on Facebook. “I’m outside!” she wrote.

Through her recovery, Facebook has been a solid source of support. Berg has appreciated the encouragement over each small accomplishment. “Sometimes I’d just cry out of gratitude,” recalled Berg.

She hasn’t been able to make it into her coffee shop much, but when she does, it’s been wonderful. “It’s so nice to go in there and see people,” said Berg. “I just like being there.”

She doesn’t drink coffee at home but indulges in her favorite when she’s there: a little espresso in a dark roast topped with brown sugar cubes.

“Having been fortunate enough to be in good health my whole life, I’m working hard to view parts of the past year as a fleeting illness, a recuperation, and a strength-building exercise,” wrote Berg in a Go Fund Me update to supporters. “And, of course, sometimes I feel sad about it and tired of it. But the coolest things for me are the healing and the good care I experienced and the love of all of you.

Whether or not you are supporting me financially, you are all supporting me in your words and good thoughts.”

22 years as Blue Moon
Berg started working in the food industry when she was in graduate school earning a degree in chemical dependency. She began baking bread and croissants at night in the Gelte’s kosher bakery on Hennepin Ave. in 1984, and then transferred to a day position baking pastries and tortes. Eventually, she rose to manager. Her time at Gelte’s was life-changing, and Berg points to owner Dennis Gelte as a role model for how to run a business and manage staff.

“He taught me how to be gracious and kind and also mindful of the business at the same time,” said Berg.

She left in 1992 to help a friend at Cafe Weird and the offshoot, Weird Kitchen Catering, cooking simple but delicious vegetarian dishes.

Then Cindy Kangas approached her about opening a coffee shop off E. Lake St. in a building owned by John Kolstad. Cindy managed the construction while Berg focused on financing. They gutted the space to the exterior wall, tore down the suspended ceiling, and pushed out the back wall to add a bathroom.
The Blue Moon opened on Oct. 23, 1994. “It was quite an adventure,” said Berg. For several years, Kangas and Berg operated a second coffee shop on Franklin, but divided the business when Berg realized she didn’t like splitting her focus.

Berg has always strived to provide a quality coffee beverage that is consistent no matter who is making it. She does this in part to recognize that people pay a lot of money for their beverages. Plus, others spend their whole lives picking coffee beans and getting them to coffee shops like hers. “That’s a big deal,” said Berg. “So I want to be a good caretaker for their work.”

Gina Palandri was one of the first baristas at the Blue Moon. “Lisa has provided jobs for people (like myself), provided a great, safe space for all the community, supported other local businesses, and provided neighbors with coffee and lattes,” she remarked.

Berg has worked hard to create a space where everyone is welcome, including the LGBT community. She’s never wanted to be surrounded by people who agree with her all the time and finds the diversity stimulating.

Her staff has echoed the customer base and is an “eclectic bunch of people.”

They’ve pitched in to keep the place running during her illness. The coffee shop has continued to stay open 365 days a year, just like always. It wasn’t closed for even a day due to her illness because of the staff.
“I’m very fond of all of them,” said Berg. “I hope I convey to them my gratitude every day.”

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Longfellow resident finds challenge and fulfillment in puppets

Posted on 21 December 2016 by calvin

By JAN WILLMS
Photos by TERRY FAUST

Paul PaintingFor his third career, Longfellow resident Paul Eide (photo right) has turned to puppet making. Specifically, he is creating the heads of puppets.

Creativity has been a part of his work ever since he graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in education. He was involved with puppetry even back then, and he was hired to make two puppets for a public service announcement.

“This was a time when there was a lot of worry about nuclear war,” Eide recalled. “These public service announcements were designed to teach farmers how to protect their cows from nuclear fallout by stacking bales of straw around them. This was to protect the cows from Strontium 90. I doubt too many farmers were up watching TV at 1am when these PSAs ran.”

When that project was finished, a job became available in the film department. “I intended to stay there for a couple of years, and I stayed there for the next 35,” Eide said.

“We did 15-millimeter films, educational movies on all sorts of topics: the arts, medicine, and anthropology. It was a wonderful job. I realized looking back how lucky I was to have that job,” Eide added. He retired from that job in 2000. “That was the end of my first career,” he noted.

While still working at the U, he combined his interest in puppetry and writing and became editor of the Puppetry Journal, a quarterly magazine produced for Puppeteers of America, a national organization. “I did that for the next 15 years,” Eide said. “It was a one-man production thing. I did some of the writing, all of the layout and graphic design, for better or worse.” He said that over a year ago, he decided to turn it over to somebody a couple of generations younger. “By then, I was 76,” Eide reflected. “I enjoyed this too, but I didn’t want to keep somebody else from doing it, so I stepped aside.”

Eide was at loose ends last year. Even though editing the Puppetry Journal had been a part-time job, he said it consumed him all the time. “I was constantly tracking down people to write articles and planning the next two issues,” he said. So when he retired from it, he was used to putting in a lot of working hours.

Paul Eide PaintingPhoto left: “It is one of those things that you can think about when you wake up in the middle of the night,” said puppet-maker Paul Eide. “It has been very much fun, and a good use of my time.” (Photo by Terry Faust)

“Around that time, last winter, a very, very talented puppeteer in Toronto, Ronny Burkett, was making puppets,” Eide said. “Burkett is one of those talented people that makes you shake your fist at the heavens and say ‘Why did you give him all the talent?’”

Burkett looked like a movie star, had a great voice, built these puppets, and wrote award-winning plays that would sell out. “He would perform all by himself to great acclaim,” Eide added. “He’s a Facebook friend, and he started posting pictures of puppets he was making for shows.”

Eide said Burkett was undertaking making 100 hand puppets to hand out to his audience to use and return them. He would post pictures of a lot of the puppets as he was making them. And as a Facebook friend, Eide viewed these different puppets.

“I thought ‘What would that be like?’ It made me think of my old high school art teacher when she was instructing us in watercolors. She told us the first 100 are the hardest, which implied that by the time you made 100, you would know what you were doing. Or not.”

Oliver Mudge Drawing by Paul EidePhoto left: Paul Eide first sketches the puppet in front and side views to understand its individual “personality.” (Photo by Terry Faust)

“At that time I was looking at a project for post-retirement. What if I set out to make 100 puppets?” And so Eide began working on his third career.

He said that the head is the most important part of a puppet because that is where the personality lies. So that is the part he concentrated on.

“I had made puppets off and on, all my life, and they were good enough. But I would like to make puppets that were really good. So I started experimenting with methods and materials of all sorts.”

Eide said the kind of puppets he likes to make are rod puppets. “Hand puppets are controlled by the hands, and marionette puppets are controlled by strings. In between, there are rod puppets, which have a rod for the head and rods on hands. They don’t have legs, generally, but you can get quite a bit of expression out of rod puppets with sweeping gestures.”

Buster Paul's CatPhoto right: Buster the cat watches over the work in Paul Eide’s workshop. Eide gives every puppet a name to fit its personality. He created one that looks like his grandmother’s sister. One developed from a Sherlock Holmes story he was listening to on the Internet. (Photo by Terry Faust)

“Every puppet had to have a mouth that opened and closed,” Eide explained. “I tried various construction methods and materials to cover them with and finish them with. I am now on puppet number 12, so I am just embarking on this.”

He claimed the puppets he has made so far all have a defect or some inadequacy. “By the time I get to 30 or 40, I might be reasonably good at it,” he chuckled.’

Eide said a puppet is like a musical instrument and a puppeteer like a musician. “A puppet comes to life when you move it,” he noted. “The instrument a musician picks up has to not only sound good but has to be built, so there are no impediments.” He aspires to make a puppet that works as well in the hands of a puppeteer; that is so reliable and smooth it feels good to hold it and make it come to life.

“I am experimenting with different finishes with the puppets,” Eide said. “There are little things, like a mouth that doesn’t close as it should, that I have to master.” He gives every puppet a name to fit its personality. He created one that looks like his grandmother’s sister. One developed from a Sherlock Holmes story he was listening to on the Internet. “There was a character who was a slightly deaf bell-ringer, and I imagined what he might look like,” Eide said. He draws front and side views of every puppet, making sketches of them at different stages.

Paul PaintingPhoto left: Longfellow resident Paul Eide was looking for his “third career” when he was inspired by the work of Toronto puppet-maker Ronny Burkett. Eide has set a first goal of making 100 puppets. (Photo by Terry Faust)

He works on more than one at a time. He said the structure is wood. He uses installation foam that comes in 4×8 foot sheets, cutting up and shaping with electric wire. Paper clay is used to complete the head, which can be sanded smooth and painted.

He has a workshop in his basement where he creates the puppets. “I try to go there while the cat is still sleeping,” he joked. His cat, Buster, likes to supervise while Eide works.

“I am enjoying this a lot. It is one of those things that you can think about when you wake up in the middle of the night. It has been very much fun, and a good use of my time.”

Eide reflected that puppetry is growing and changing. “The kind of puppets people are using change over the decades,” he said. “You could have made a living building marionette shows and touring schools. Now the school funding has dried up. But puppetry is going as strong today as ever. The main difference between now and fifty years ago is that contemporary artists don’t feel constrained by traditional forms and formats and puppetry styles. They experiment with any and all methods of giving objects the illusion of life, intelligence, personality, emotion–-which is what puppetry is.”

“Today a puppet can be anything, and it can be made to move by strings or rods or multiple puppeteers standing behind it in full view, making it move,” Eide continued. “There are many young puppeteers who are doing very good and very adventurous work–-just look at our two permanent puppet theaters in the Twin Cities: Heart of the Beast and Open Eye Figure Theater.”
And puppetry is a long-lasting career. Eide said that puppeteers from the age of four who knew what they wanted to be are still practicing the art of puppetry in their 80s.

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Soup for You! is building community one bowl of soup at a time

Posted on 21 December 2016 by calvin

soup-for-you-04Story and photos by MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Chef Judah Nataf creates two different and tantalizing vegetarian soups five days a week, all year long, at the Soup for You! Café. The café is located in the basement of Bethany Lutheran Church at 2511 E. Franklin Ave. A modest wooden sign marks access to the café on the west side of the church building.

soup-for-you-17Photo left: Former server Sarah Matanah (pictured right) said, “I liked working in the kitchen, but my job kind of got in the way. Now I just come back when I can. I feel happy when I’m here; I think it’s the combination of being in a community space and eating good food. There’s little money involved in anything that happens at Soup for You! and somehow that makes everyone feel happier too, more generous. It’s like zucchinis in the summer. The more you have, the more you want to give away.” Friend Pam Burrows is pictured left.

Nataf is a masterful soup maker who once spent a year living under the Franklin Ave. Bridge. He and his team of volunteers are clear that they aren’t running a soup kitchen—they’re offering a community meal. The two-hour lunch is served from 11am-1pm, Monday through Friday. It operates café-style with servers taking orders and delivering meals to each table with a smile.

The made-from-scratch soups feature organic ingredients and real cooking wizardry, the kind of food typically not available to people in search of a free meal. The recipes are determined by what ingredients there are to work with. In warm months, much of the produce is donated by local gardeners. Chef Judah usually arrives at 6:30am to start preparing the day’s meal.

soup-for-you-20Photo right: John Harkness put finishing touches on the day’s lentil-cranberry soup and said, “We serve about 70 bowls a day, around 1,000 bowls each month. We also sell quarts of soup at $9 per quart, or $7.50 with a punch card. The actual cost of making a bowl of organic soup is about $1.

The soups are so tasty that people that work or live in the neighborhood regularly come for lunch, generating revenue that can be used to cover the cost of meals for those who can’t afford to pay.

Diners pay whatever they feel is a fair price, whatever they’re able to, or nothing at all. The program’s goal is not to draw new members to the church, but to build community across ethnic, racial, educational, and economic lines. A hand printed sign outside the kitchen proudly states, “Over 20,000 bowls of soup served since Feb. 2, 2015,” which was opening day.

Long-time Bethany church member Brad Laudert said, “I’ve been part of this congregation since I was three years old. We’ve got the whole spectrum of customers down here sharing soup together—everyone from people experiencing homelessness to Augsburg College professors. There’s no separation.”

“This congregation has a long history of partnering with the community,” Laudert continued. “Soup for You! Is an extension of that. Our next project, building a shower and laundry facility for people experiencing homelessness, will be another extension. Thanks to a generous donor, the construction costs for that have already been paid. We’ll need volunteers to help build and paint, as well as donations of sweats for people to wear while their clothes are being laundered, towels, soap, and shampoo. In addition, we always accept donations for our clothing exchange. Cold weather items for men are especially needed.”

soup-for-you-15Photo right: Dannie Drinkwine Jr. said, “This place is about relationships. If you’re on the receiving end of services like having to stay in a shelter or receiving economic assistance, you can feel dehumanized. What Judah and all the others have created here is a beautiful food program where everybody is welcome.”

Laudert noted that “you don’t enter into a project thinking, ‘I’m going to help the whole world.’ You enter into a project thinking, ‘I’m going to help someone.’ Then that person helps another, and that person helps another, and before you know it, you’ve got something good going.”

Chef Judah said that “The Soup for You! Cafe would never have happened without Bethany Pastor Mike Matson’s help, enthusiasm and support. In many churches, establishing a cafe like this would have taken months of committee meetings and miles of red tape.”

To make a donation of money, clothing or time to the cafe contact Judah Nataf at 612-978-7974.

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East Lake Street White Castle restaurant closes after 60+ years

Posted on 21 December 2016 by calvin

Story and photos by MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
The White Castle outlet at 36th Ave. and East Lake St. served its last slider at 6am on Sun., Dec, 10. The store has anchored the northeast corner there for more than six decades.

white-castle-closing-08According to district supervisor Marjorie Derolf, “Many of our team members and customers knew each other by name, but this was a corporate decision.” Though the property has been sold, Derolf declined to comment on who the new owners are.

White Castle has long been known for its signature small, square hamburgers called sliders. The restaurant chain was founded in Wichita, Kansas in the 1920’s. At the time, a slider cost only five cents. In 2014, Time Magazine named the slider, “the most influential hamburger of all time.”

White Castle developed its prefabricated architecture of white porcelain over steel exteriors, stainless steel interiors, and employees in bright, white uniforms to convey a sense of cleanliness. The chain of restaurants was America’s first foray into fast food.

white-castle-closing-01Photo left: Garrett Humphrey and Anna Loweth visited the familiar White Castle one last time.

According to their website, there are currently about over 420 White Castle outlets across the country. By comparison, there are more than 14,000 McDonalds restaurants in the US and thousands more around the world. The next closest White Castle outlet is at 100 W. Lake St.

Garrett Humphrey stopped in for one last meal on Saturday night with his wife, Anna Loweth. “ To tell you the truth,” Humphrey said, “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for White Castle. My Dad managed another outlet in South Minneapolis when he was a young man. My Mom turned up one day and applied for a job; he hired her, and they ended up getting married. I grew up on this food.”

Customers talked across tables on the last night, speculating on the future of the corner location. The unsubstantiated rumor was that a Canadian donut and coffee franchise called Tim Hortons would soon start construction.

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Wishing for a large grocery store on south side of Longfellow?

Posted on 21 December 2016 by calvin

Developers eyeing city-identified ‘town square retail site’ near 46th and Hiawatha for grocery store and apartments

By TESHA A. CHRISTENSEN
Are you going out of the neighborhood to grocery shop? You’re not alone.

“Third-party grocery consultants estimate that 85% of the available food dollars leave the Longfellow neighborhood—resulting in more traffic and road miles traveled,” according to Drew Johnson of Oppidan Investment Company.

In fact, parts of south Minneapolis are classified as a food desert by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) because of low access to grocery stores.

grocery-store-img_5409snelling46thsmPhoto left: A grocery store and 140 to 160 apartments may be constructed at Snelling and E. 46th in 2017. The investment in phase one will be $38-$44 million. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

Oppidan hopes to change that by building a new grocery store near the 46th and Hiawatha intersection.

Construction may begin soon.

“Despite grocery options along Lake St., across the river, or further west of Highway 55, a market analysis reveals the area as a ‘food desert,’ so having a grocery store there would serve the community well,” said Ward 12 Council Member Andrew Johnson. “What will be important, though, is which particular grocer moves in. For it to be most beneficial to the community, I believe it has to offer something differentiated from what we already have nearby.”

grocery-store-urbandesignconcept5.7-acre site
Oppidan owns the 5.7-acre site with a 75,000-square-foot warehouse that Creative Kidstuff leases for its corporate office at 3939 E. 46th St. A landscaping company uses the southern portion of the site near the Dairy Queen and Nawadaha Blvd. The long, triangular-shaped parcel abuts a railroad track that is no longer used.

Illustration right: Oppidan’s plan for the site fits with the city’s transit-oriented development strategy for the area, which places a town square retail site at Snelling and 46th Ave. E.

Oppidan has been working on plans for a mixed-use project in the northern part of the site, with the grocery store fronting 46th St. Snelling Ave. will be extended south into the development and likely curve over to the area between Burger King and the mall.

“This store will bring grocery goods and services not currently offered in the trade area, and what consumers have come to expect in a grocery store: hot food bar with seating areas, grab and go options, large fresh bakery and large deli, floral, and organic offerings, as well as standard ‘center isle’ items,” said D. Johnson.

Early phase one concept plans show between 140 to 160 apartments, and around 50,000 square feet of retail, the majority for the grocery store. The investment in phase one will be $38-$44 million.
D. Johnson pointed out that the plan for the site fits with the city’s transit-oriented development strategy for the area, which places a town square retail site there.

Development challenges include barriers to development such as the high-voltage lattice towers, the cost of new public streets, and managing traffic on 46th and Hiawatha. Additionally, there will be environmental clean-up from some of the former uses at the site, including a coal/fuel company, a lumberyard, a gas station, and diesel storage.

Oppidan was drawn to the parcel because of its large size and location with great transit connections.
“Done right, this project will offer positive features to both new and existing residents/neighbors: additional housing options in a market that has an extremely low vacancy rate, multi-modal access to grocery, cleaning-up impacted soils from historical uses, treating stormwater before it leaves the site, and public trails and plaza areas connecting to other redevelopments in the area,” said D. Johnson.

“Despite being located across the street from Minnehaha Falls, a block from the 46th St. light rail station, and on a bus-rapid-transit line, the property today is mostly a giant asphalt lot… they even pile wood chips out back!” said council member Johnson. “I believe there are much better uses for such an excellent location.”

The sheer size of the property may be its biggest challenge. “This makes a strong vision and good urban design essential, as it is all too easy for most developers to pursue the biggest, easiest, and cheapest project possible to maximize profit and move on. I have seen firsthand Oppidan’s willingness thus far to focus on the details and make the redevelopment of this property a good fit for the neighborhood,” said A. Johnson. “They are also planning ahead for the future so that this site could be combined with others nearby to make a little village for shopping, living, and entertainment that’s integrated with green space and paths to the park and transit.”

When A. Johnson first saw the plan, he suggested some revisions to activate the public realm on 46th St. with commercial spaces and pedestrian-friendly features.

“They broke up the long and bulky building into two separate buildings, and they made some other tweaks to fit better with the site and neighborhood,” observed A. Johnson.

“Moving forward, the city will play a pretty big role in helping make any development of this site a success, as there are some public infrastructure changes to consider, such as extending Snelling Ave. and converting the abandoned railroad tracks into a connection with Minnehaha Park,” added council member Johnson.

Min Hi Line: a linear park
The Min Hi Line Coalition envisions a linear park traversing the space now unused by railroad tracks, of which the area within the grocery store development is the southernmost link to Minnehaha Park.

Since 2001, the city’s master planning guiding documents have also promoted the old rail right-of-way being turned into a linear park. A bike/walk trail in this area would create a protected connection between the Midtown Greenway and Minnehaha Pkwy, and complete the Longfellow Grand Rounds, as noted in the Minneapolis Bicycle Master Plan.

The Min Hi Line Coalition (www.minhiline.org) aims to incorporate park space with public art, trails, streets, historical markers and storm water management. Successful precedents from across the country, such as the Atlanta Beltline, New York High Line, and Minneapolis Midtown Greenway serve as models and guide the work.

Share your comments
The developer’s next step is to engage with community stakeholders.

Learn more on Tues., Jan. 3 at the Longfellow Community Council’s Neighborhood Development and Transportation Committee meeting at the Longfellow Recreation Center (3435 36th Ave. S.), at 7:30 p.m.

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What would happen to Lake Hiawatha if dams in creek were removed?

Posted on 21 December 2016 by calvin

Park Board, City enter phase two of investigation and hope to find preferred solution to water issues at golf course

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
If the level of Lake Hiawatha were lowered, would that keep the golf course playable and stop water from entering nearby basements?

Perhaps.

While dredging the lake wouldn’t help lower the level of the lake, planners are studying what would happen if the existing weirs at 28th St. and Hiawatha Ave. were lowered and the creek dredged between the two. (A weir is a low dam built across a river or stream to raise the level of water upstream or regulate its flow.) The outlet of the lake would also need to be modified.

A plus side to a lower lake is that it would offer more flood storage in the area. When there is a large storm and the area around Lake Hiawatha floods, that’s flood storage, pointed out a Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board FAQ on the issue. The bigger the area, the more flood storage there is. A lower lake level would not only provide more flood storage but also might lower flood elevations. The exact impact is not yet known because it hasn’t been studied.

Recently, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) adjusted its 100-year flood zone maps, affecting some properties in South Minneapolis. Nearly the entire golf course itself is within the FEMA 100-year floodplain. The level of the golf course could be raised by filling in the low areas.

steffani-ekatrina-michaePhoto right: The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and city of Minneapolis are working closely on a solution to the water issues around Lake Hiawatha and the golf course. Park Commissioner Steffanie Musich (at left), Minneapolis Director of Surface Water and Sewers Katrina Kessler, and MPRB Assistant Superintendent of Planning Michael Schroeder answered questions together at the public meeting on Tues., Nov. 29, 2016. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

While that might reduce the need for pumping groundwater, it would also reduce the flood storage, which increases the chances of roads, buildings and houses flooding.

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Assistant Superintendent of Planning Michael Schroeder stressed that neither the park board nor the city have the authority to make any alterations to Lake Hiawatha or Minnehaha Creek. Permits and approvals would be needed from regulatory agencies that include the Department of Natural Resources, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, FEMA, and the Army Corp of Engineers.

“This is a big problem, and this will take a big solution,” said Schroeder during a public meeting on Nov. 29.

Phase one: water being pumped in a big circle
During the first investigative phase, planners gathered data to understand the scope of the problem.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has been evaluating what to do at the golf course since the large amount of pumping was discovered last fall while planners were working to restore the golf course with $100 million from FEMA.

jeanne-roxannePhoto left: Jeanne LaBore lives near the golf course. She commented that the planning so far seems predicated on the notion that a golf course will be maintained. She questioned the cost of that and suggested that remediation for the homes, such as the installation of sump pumps, might be cheaper. “What’s the best use of that land?” LaBore asked. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

The volume of water being pumped from Hiawatha Golf Course is far greater than allowed by a permit issued by the DNR in 1993 for 36.5 million gallons.

The golf course is currently pumping 263 million gallons of groundwater annually, the amount of water used by a small town in a year, said Schroeder.

Of that, 105 million gallons a year are being pumped in a little circle, seeping from the ponds into Lake Hiawatha and back into the ponds. Of the rest, 17 percent is stormwater run-off, and 50 percent is shallow groundwater. Tests determining this were done from Dec. 31, 2015, to Jan. 4, 2016.

If pumping were to stop, most of the course would be underwater, and it would be shut down.

Planners also realized that turning off the pumps might flood 9-18 homes nearby in the area of 19th Ave. and 44th St. They began meeting with homeowners in June to better understand how deep their basements are and the water issues they face. They also question whether homes farther upstream might also be affected.

Update on investigations 29 March 2016Analysts estimate that some nearby basements are at an elevation of 811.3, which falls below the 812 elevation of the lake. The street is at an elevation of 816.3, while the ponds are at 808.6.

Illustration left: This graph shows the elevations of the land and water of Lake Hiawatha. The dark blue shows existing open water, while the light blue shows the area that falls below the 812.8 elevation of the lake, and would be under water if the pumping were to stop altogether. The white area shows the portion of the golf course that is at 813.8. (Photo submitted)

The elevation of nearby Lake Nokomis, which is separated from the creek, is 816. Planners acknowledge that anything done at Lake Hiawatha will affect Lake Nokomis, and plan to take that into account, as well.

Phase two: what’s next
MPRB is now ready to move on to phase two and pinpoint the best answer for the long-term future of the park land.

“We’re going to move through this process deliberately,” promised Schroeder.

He did stress that the property would remain parkland even if the golf course goes away.

MPRB is working closely with the city. “We know that the park board can’t solve this on our own. We’re going to find a solution together,” said Schroeder.

The solution will not just deal with the golf course, but also the trash flow and ecology of the creek.

“This is a very broad and complex issue, and we want to find a good answer to it,” said Schroeder.

Investigations will evaluate what will happen if the park board continues pumping, reduces pumping, or stops pumping.

“If we’re going to do this for another 100 years, we want someone to say it is good for 100 years,” said Schroeder.

Della Young of Young Environmental Consulting Group has been hired to provide expertise, and another technical consultant is expected to be hired.

A preferred scenario with a clear direction forward and costs will be identified by July 2017.

Jeanne LaBore lives near the golf course. She commented that the planning so far seems predicated on the notion that a golf course will be maintained. She questioned the cost of that and suggested that remediation for the homes, such as the installation of sump pumps, might be cheaper.

“What’s the best use of that land?” LaBore asked.

“We think it’s really important that before you get to that preferred concept, you address the ethics of trying to keep a wetland a golf course,” said resident Connie Peppin.

According to Schroeder, the next community meeting will be in March in order to get more input from residents.

How will the trash issue be solved?
The trash that flows directly into the lake without a filter from a stormwater pipe on the northwest side continues to remain an issue for residents. One attendee encouraged the city to put the stormwater somewhere else, not in the lake.

There are only so many options for stormwater, pointed out Minneapolis Director of Surface Water and Sewers Katrina Kessler. There are hundreds of storm drains in the city. “Ultimately, we are responsible to what is flowing off our properties,” she said. She urged residents to consider other alternatives to salt sidewalks this winter to keep that from entering the watershed.

Roxanne Stuhr remarked that much of the trash pulled out of Lake Hiawatha by volunteers has been styrofoam, and she suggested that the city ban these types of containers.
Another resident suggested that the city begin sweeping streets more frequently. Kessler responded,

“We are looking at that.” The parkways adjacent to lakes and creeks are already swept on a bi-weekly basis in the summer.

“This is a problem that takes many hands to solve,” said Kessler, who pointed out that they’re trying to attack it from multiple facets.

The Friends of Lake Hiawatha are encouraging residents to take part in the city’s Adopt-A-Drain program to keep trash from entering the lake. Volunteers commit to clearing leaves and trash from a drain regularly.

The city piloted a floating curtain in an attempt to catch trash entering the lake from the large storm drain last summer. The curtain netted only four pounds of trash. Compare that to the 2,400 pounds kept out of the city’s drains through the Adopt-A-Drain program, said Kessler.
Seventy residents have adopted over 120 drains in the Standish Erickson neighborhood, with 29 of those draining to Lake Hiawatha.

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St Thomas

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