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COVID-19 – Small businesses: ‘It’s all personal’

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Local restaurants are adjusting to the Stay at Home order while other businesses are considering how to reopen under Governor Walz’s most recent guidelines.

More and more customers are heeding the warnings and wearing masks in stores. Here, Doug Flicker purchases items from Assistant Manager Colleen Burke at the East Lake Ace Hardware. Workers wipe down the counter, card machines and barriers after customer purchases. (Photo by Terry Faust)

Hi-Lo Diner (4020 E. Lake St.) closed the Sunday night before the government shutdown of restaurants. It was a hard decision, but co-owners James Brown and Mike Smith were worried about the safety of their staff members and wanted to take some time to evaluate things.
Thanks to a PPP loan, the diner reopened for take-out last weekend, starting with dinner on Saturday, April 25. “We had 32 employees before the pandemic and will be able to bring a lot of them back on,” stated Brown.
They are excited to be reopening, even if it is just for take-out, and Brown pointed out it is a huge help to be able to offer beer and wine to-go. They plan to also offer Bloody Mary and mimosa kits, in addition to brunch Saturdays and Sundays.
“I think the future of small business – and specifically restaurants – is to make it personal,” observed Brown. “Small businesses give our community a third place, not home or work, but it is a part of the community. We are swiping left on ‘It’s just business, it’s not personal;’ it is all totally personal, and that is how we can make it through this.”
Brown is concerned for the undocumented workers in America right now. “They can’t get unemployment, or federal stimulus money, It’s really hard for them during this time,” he said.
Hi-Lo will be open Thursday and Friday 4-8 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “The best way to support us is to call in and order food,” he said.

Fun City Dogs reopens for 10th anniversary
Fun City Dogs (2200 E. 25th St.) will reopen this week, just in time for its 10th anniversary on May 1, although its big party has been put on hold.
The doggy day care temporarily closed on March 23, 2020, when they had no boarders for the first time in five years. “Our daycare numbers had dropped significantly with people working from home,” explained owner RyAnne Quirk. “My mother, 83 years, lives in my house and I was very concerned about bringing home the virus. We were all worried about getting sick. It seemed right to close for a few weeks and help flatten the curve.”
Most of the other doggy day care operations in the Twin Cities remained open. Fun City Dogs sold dog food online with home delivery in the neighborhood.
A day after Governor Walz’s new guidelines were released, Quirk was busy planning safety protocols. “There will be a gated area outside our front door for dog drop offs. That way the customers and employees will have limited contact. The customer will remove the collar and leash, again to limit contact. The staff will then open the front door and bring the dog into the center. Going home will operate the same way; the customer will call for pick up, we will bring the dog to the front gate and the customer will put on the leash and collar to go home.
“Inside, the staff will have masks and continue our normal cleaning regimen. We already clean, sanitize and have air purifiers set up to combat canine parvovirus.”
She added, “I feel like now is a good time to reopen.”

34th Ave. businesses band together
Nokomis Tattoo owner Mike Welch has banded together with other 34th Ave. business owners as they are not only dealing with COVID-19 related closures, but also road construction for the second summer.
The group released a promotional video, and started a new Instagram account (34thAveNEBA). Six business take turns posting photos and information, including Paddlesculpt, Berrysweet Kitchen, Grand Sunrise Mexican Restaurant, The Workshop,Replace and Nokomis Tattoo.
Welsh, who also serves on the board of the Nokomis East Business Association and the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, closed his tattoo shop on Tuesday, March 17. He’s grateful for his wife’s teaching position with the Mounds View School District as his business income has taken a hit. He is doing some pet portraits on commission, and is thankful for a supportive clientele.
“This is completely uncharted territory for my business plan,” he said.
Welsh pointed out that the biggest worry for businesses along 34th Ave. is rent payments. ”None of us have extra money,” he said. “It’s a very scary time.”
He encouraged residents, “Reach out to businesses and find out how you can support them.”
The group has also released a new Nokomis t-shirt designed by Jeffrey K. Johnson from Replace, and all the profits go to a business of choice. Shirts are American-made and cost $25-$28. Pre-orders end May 8.

WRBA focuses on helping neighborhood businesses
The WRBA (West of the Rail Business Association) is focusing its efforts on offering programs free of charge that will be helpful for local, small businesses right now, and has put its other initiatives on pause. “We have capacity to help our community now, and we believe that is the right thing to do,” said WRBA and Standish Ericsson Neighborhood Association Program Director Emerson Sample, who started in July 2019.
He observed, “Our team is distancing from each other, which has made communication and getting things done harder. Now some of our best conversations are around how to re-define success for a day at work, and what things we can do to have a positive impact as quickly as possible.”
WRBA is focusing on sharing information through social media and other online options. Sample said he has two goals: to let as many businesses as possible know about the resources out there for them, and to help people know how to stay connected in the community by supporting area businesses.
“The WRBA has not officially re-launched yet, so it feels like trying to jump start a car while you’re rolling down a big hill.,” said Sample. “I’ve accepted that this is a powerful virus that we have to respond to, that we don’t have the tools to tell it what to do. I’m just trying to control what I can and play my role to the best of my ability to flatten the curve, and help people come out on the other side in as good of shape as possible.”

Messenger offers free listings on What’s Open page
The Longfellow Nokomis Messenger has added a free self-serve What’s Open page to its web site to help businesses connect with community members. Go to LongfellowNokomisMessenger.com and click on What’s Open.
After creating a free account, businesses can quickly post their current hours, what they’re offering, and contact information, and then update the listing as needed.

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Kids learn through play

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

While you’re at home during this extended break from school, try these ideas from Free Forest School

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN

Free Forest School Executive Director Anna Sharratt said, “This idea started as an outdoor play group. It has turned into a river I’ve been riding for several years now.” (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Let them be kids, outdoors. Let them learn through unstructured play in nature.
That’s the cornerstone belief of Free Forest School, a volunteer-led program that operates in 200+ cities across the country.
Right now, their weekly outdoor gatherings are, of course, suspended, but it’s easy to put the principles of Free Forest School to use during this extended break from school.
Longfellow resident Anna Sharratt developed the idea for the program five years ago, when her young family lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. She and her husband had signed their four-year-old up for a pre-K learning program, and the kids didn’t set foot outdoors for a whole month.
Sharratt, who grew up alongside Minnehaha Creek and camping in the BWCA, was stunned. She said, “In my way of thinking, learning and nature are inseparable. I had hoped to meet other families in the neighborhood, thinking we could get together outside of school, chill out, and play. I found parenting in New York City to be very competitive. The idea for Free Forest School grew out of that longing for non-competitive, quality time spent outdoors with other families.”
Two months after Sharratt started the first chapter of Free Forest School in Brooklyn, her family moved to Austin, Texas. Once seeds were planted in those two places, people started contacting her from around the country asking, “How can I start this up in my town?”

“There is no such thing
as bad weather,
only bad clothing.”
~ Scandinavian saying

Focus on supportive communities for parents and kids
The Free Forest School model is straight forward; it focuses on creating supportive communities. Parents can parent in different ways while encouraging child-led, unstructured play.
Sharratt said, “There are so many people who attend our play groups. Adults say they forge a deeper relationship with their kids through unstructured play, because so many of their usual power struggles disappear. There is less adult talking and explaining, there are fewer rules.”
The suggested age range for children is 0-6 years, but the majority of kids are 1-4. Every Free Forest School chapter has a director. It’s that person’s job to recruit parent facilitators from the community and to train them.
One of the ongoing Minneapolis sites is Theodore Wirth Park, where a Free Forest School chapter has met on Monday mornings at a certain trailhead for the past four years.
Sharratt explained, “We have a strong emphasis on place-based learning, so we go back to the same place throughout the seasons. Kids love to explore in the rain and mud of April, the heat and humidity of June, the snow and ice of January.”
Place-based learning might come as something of a relief during this time of staying at home, or close to home. According to Sharratt, young children are just as happy, maybe happier, going back to the same place over and over again.
Now that even playgrounds are closed or discouraged, here’s the best news yet. Find a scrappy patch of woods near your house; any nearby nature spot will do. Take the kids there and, after making sure it’s reasonably safe, led them take the lead in their own unstructured play.
Sharratt encourages parents to think back to their own memories of childhood, asking, “What places in nature were most meaningful for you? It’s probably not the trip your whole family took to a national park, though it could be. It’s more likely a tree you loved to climb by yourself, or a vacant neighborhood lot where you built a fort with your friends. These are experiences that give kids a sense of autonomy, which is especially important in this time of ‘helicopter parenting.’”

“Kids are hard wired to learn through play in nature, but parents can get in the way with too much structure and over-scheduling.” ~ Anna Sharratt

Every day outside
It is unlikely that Free Forest School playgroups will be meeting this summer, given the current health emergency.
In the meantime, the website is resource rich, and includes a COVID-19 inspired initiative called Every Day Outside on the blog. It’s a place to share ideas, play prompts, inspirations, and ideas for child-led activities. There are also weekly emails that dive deeper into the value of unstructured play for the whole family. For more information, visit www.freeforestschool.org or or email info@freeforestschool.org.
“It may look like we’re educating children, but we’re really educating adults,” said Sharratt. “Kids are hard wired to learn through play in nature, but parents can get in the way with too much structure and over-scheduling.”
So, even though Free Forest School isn’t formally meeting right now, Sharratt said the emphasis hasn’t changed one bit. Today is the perfect day to get outside with your kids. Let them cross a stream on rocks or climb a tree. They might look like they’re “just playing,” (and what’s wrong with that?) but they’re also developing their sense of spatial awareness, large and small motor skills, balance, critical thinking, and much more.

In a nutshell
Free Forest School ignites children’s innate capacity to learn through unstructured play in nature, fostering healthy development and nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers, collaborative leaders, and environmental stewards.

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Rooftop prairie: Nokomis family doesn’t have to go far to relax

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Home & Garden

“Water quality and stormwater management are really big values for us,” observed Nokomis resident Steffanie Musich as she drinks a glass of water on her rooftop garden. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN

When Steffanie Musich sits on her green roof looking out over the rooftop prairie and the tree canopy, it’s hard to remember that she’s in the city.
That sense of peace and relaxation without having to get in the car is exactly what she was aiming for.
The 11-year Nokomis resident, her husband Matt and son live within blocks of Highway 62 and Cedar, surrounded by the constant hum of traffic and roar of airplanes. They’re also close to Lake Nokomis, and have dedicated years to the intricacies of water quality and sustainability issues.
The green roof is an extension of those values, and a way to demonstrate how it can work in a neighborhood.
When Musich read about the green roofs being installed by Omni Ecosystems of Chicago, Ill. they resonated with her. She didn’t want the type of living roof that merely had a sedum tray of close-to-the-ground plants. Instead, she envisioned a prairie.
The problem is that a roof with 1.5 to 2 feet of soil material is heavy – and gets even more so with a load of snow on it. Plus, the costs of a roof like that are typically beyond what a homeowner can pay.
But Omni Ecosystems offered an innovative system using a new lightweight growing medium with a higher capacity for stormwater management, which allows them to build lighter green roof systems that require less structural capacity. Omni’s projects include the O’Hare Terminal 2 Concourse, Harvard Business School, Chicago’s Wild Mile, and McDonald’s corporate headquarters.
The 300-square-foot green roof at the Musich residence cost about $17,000. That doesn’t include the cost of replacing the garage or the flat roof that is underneath.
While the initial cost is higher than a regular roof, the Musich family believes the positive impacts on their mental health, the extended life of the flat roof beneath it, and the environmental impacts are worth it.
It was 2015 when they began envisioning the project. The couple hired Craft Design and Build from Uptown Minneapolis as the general contractor, and Jody McGuire of SALA Design as architect. Steffanie and Matt saved on costs by doing much of the construction themselves, including all the painting, stucco, and finishing work, putting in time in the evenings and weekends. For the rest, they refinanced and rolled the cost in.
It is important to them that the living roof will last 50-100 years, 3-5 times longer than a traditional roof.
The green roof doesn’t heat up as much in the summer, and it provides insulation in the winter. “Green roofs help with urban heat island effects,” observed Musich.
Bonus: brewery space and sauna
The two-car garage on the property was rotting and didn’t have footings under the cement slab. So they tore it down and started from scratch. The new three-car garage uses three sets of three tri-lam beams made of manufactured wood to distribute the weight. A room in the center helps support the load of the roof. As an added bonus, they moved their longtime home brew operation into the new space and got it out of the house.
The garage is connected to the house via a main floor breezeway and a second story deck. An upstairs door offers the only way to access the green roof. Near the plants is a beehive decorated by local artist Jamie Anderson.
Nestled in the prairie is a sauna that’s been a great way to pull the neighborhood together in the winter months.

Green roof part of system of rain gardens and more
When the house needed a new roof eight years ago, Steffanie and Matt opted for a “cool roof.” The steel roof reflects sunlight and heat away from the building, reducing roof temperatures by 50–60°F over a typical shingle roof and helps the house stay cooler inside. The material is also a lifetime product.
“Water quality and stormwater management are really big values for us,” observed Musich. She started Friends of Lake Nokomis, and has served on the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board since 2014.
Given their proximity to Lake Nokomis, Musich wanted to replace an impermeable surface with one that would hold water in place and not flood the city’s stormwater system. “Part of what we’re trying to do is keep stormwater on our property for a longer period of time to reduce the volume of water the city infrastructure needs to manage during a storm event,” she explained.
Their green roof can hold a one-inch rainfall. More than that runs off the backside where they’ve done some regrading. They added a raingarden for Steffanie’s birthday last year that holds more water and keeps it from flowing immediately into the street. They plan to add another in the front in an effort to hold as much water as they can on site.
Over the years, they had also overseeded the backyard grass in favor of plants (such as clover) that help capture water and provide habitat for pollinators. They mow at 4 inches to allow for a deeper root system, which in turns means the plants are able to take more water into the ground than if the lawn was mowed shorter – a tip she learned through her master gardener training.
The best practices guidelines have been to hold a one-inch rainfall, although Musich foresees that may change as the state has been experiencing more and more high rainfall events. “One inch was unusual and on the high end, but now we’re seeing 2-3-4-6-inch rainfall events,” she said.
Musich pointed out it’s important to keep raingardens 10 feet from a building foundation to avoid basement flooding. Using a French drain between homes helps the water move and protects both homes.
Due to the way their home sits on their corner lot, their backyard is essentially their neighbor’s front yard. The new garage and green roof helped them carve out a private space.
“Plus we’re up in the canopy,” said Musich. “We get to see the birds and the squirrels in their element.”

‘Cathartic to care for natural space’
Initially, they planted 24 plugs with six different sedges, forbes, and grasses that were overseeded with a mix of annuals and perennials. Not everything was native.
White asters, white yarrow, black-eyes susan, mountain mint, purple coneflower, bachelor buttons, baby’s breath, columbine and more grow on the roof. The rooftop prairie starts blooming in April and continues through fall.
“The first thing that starts to bloom is the baby’s breath, which is self seeding. We’ll get a field of white which is beautiful at night,” said Musich. The first year, many poppies bloomed but they haven’t seen any since, and the wild indigo bloomed just the first two years. Meanwhile, the purple coneflower was elusive until the summer of 2019.
“It’s been very interesting to watch the evolution of the plants and the way they cluster and change,” said Musich.
The maintenance of the roof each year is minimal. “I’ll come out here and weed a couple times a month,” remarked Musich. “If I’m having a particularly stressful week, I’ll be out here more frequently. It’s very cathartic to care for a natural space.”

Benefits of green roofs
>>CLEAN WATER
Ordinarily, rainwater picks up contaminants and heat as it rushes across roofing and other hard surfaces on its way to lakes and rivers. Green roofs hold onto much of the rain, reducing the runoff that would otherwise cause water pollution and decreasing the need for additional (and expensive) stormwater treatment infrastructure.

>>LONGER-LASTING ROOFS
Because the waterproofing membrane is underneath the other layers of the green roof, it is protected from factors that can cause roofs to fail: extreme heat, UV radiation, and thermal swings. In general, green roofs last longer than conventional roofs, reducing both consumption and waste.

>>COOLER BUILDINGS AND CITIES
The plants on a green roof shade the building, and further cool it through the natural process of evapotranspiration. If enough roofs in a city are greened, they can combat the urban heat island and help mitigate the effects of global warming.

>>HABITAT CREATION
Green roofs create green spaces in the built environment that birds and beneficial insects can use as habitat. Green roofs also beautify cities, creating better habitat for humans as well.

>>CLEAN AIR
Green roofs improve air quality by taking up carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, and by filtering airborne particulates.
~ Information from mngreenroofs.org

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Envision community: A model for tiny homes, big community

Posted on 04 May 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN

Sherry Shannon is one of five formerly homeless community members leading the Envision Community. Behind her is an architectural drawing of the project. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Dewayne Parker became homeless in 2017. For lack of a better option, he ended up sleeping for months on the Green Line train. One winter night, that sleeping arrangement very nearly got him killed.
Parker said, ”Everybody knows it’s dangerous living on the streets. What I want the broader community to understand is that anyone can end up homeless. Some of the most intelligent and resourceful people I’ve ever met lost their housing. It doesn’t take much for things to fall apart.”
Parker is one of five homeless or previously homeless community members serving as leaders on a new housing model called Envision Community. After meeting for more than a year, the group has embraced the idea of starting a community of “tiny homes” for the poor and homeless to be built somewhere in South Minneapolis.

“There’s a terrible housing shortage, but that’s just part of it.
The headline, and one of the things that’s really different with our model, is that we’re creating an intentional community – one where residents feel a sense of belonging. This movement has to be led by people who have experienced homelessness, and we have to be certain that
what we’re building is desirable for those same people.”
~ Dr. William Walsh, Envision Community advisor

Tiny, deeply affordable homes
Envision Community is a proposal to build and operate a two-year live demonstration of an intentional community made up of 15-30 people living in tiny homes, with the goal of creating health equity.
The tiny homes, just a few hundred square feet each, would be deeply affordable – appealing to the growing number of low-income people shut out of the metro area’s housing market. They would be part of a cluster development centered around a larger, shared community house for meals and other gatherings.
What does it mean to be shut out of the housing market? For starters, many people with low-wage jobs simply can’t afford the high cost of rent in the Twin Cities. Other barriers to housing are having a criminal record, a poor credit score, a past eviction, or a chemical dependency problem. Landlords can easily avoid renting to someone with any one of the above.

Envision it
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved an intentional community cluster development ordinance last November. This allows for a new type of affordable housing for people transitioning out of homelessness. A collaborative made up of representatives from 17 different organizations, and led by members of the Twin Cities homeless community, are working together to plan what the Envision Community will be.

Working full-time, single-parenting two kids and homeless
When there is nowhere else to go, people without a safety net may quickly end up living on the street.
Sherry Shannon did. Born and raised in South Minneapolis, she first became homeless while working full-time and single-parenting two children. It was a long road from homelessness, to living in a shelter, to transitional housing, to the apartment where she now lives in Roseville.
Shannon is also an Envision community leader; she is candid about her struggles, which include a PTSD diagnosis, and her successes. She said, “Once I got into stable housing, I could finally start working on my disability. Things came together pretty quickly then. I started talking about my situation, and trying to help other people move forward too. Last year, I won the Dorothy Richardson Award for community leadership.
“After I gave my acceptance speech in Chicago, a couple of ladies came up to me and asked, ‘How did you ever get through all this?’” I told them, ‘I couldn’t have done it without a place to call home.’”

Costly medical problems, homelessness go hand-in-hand
The Envision Community, if approved by the city of Minneapolis, would be the first community of tiny homes in the Twin Cities Metro.
Another first would be forming a strong collaboration with the health care system. Doctors also desire innovative housing models after seeing how often homeless patients turn up at hospitals with complicated, costly medical problems – many of them caused by being homeless.
Dr. William Walsh believes that homelessness is a public health crisis. A reconstructive surgeon at Hennepin Health Care and a researcher at the University of Minnesota, he serves as advisor to the Envision Community team. Dr. Walsh said, “Homelessness profoundly affects a person’s health, and puts enormous strain on the health care system.”
He added, “There are moral and financial motivations for the health care system to get involved in ending homelessness, but with the current failure of affordable housing – we can’t fix it. What’s needed is an innovative new model like Envision. We can bring housing costs down without compromising the quality of life for people moving into our housing model. With a strong emphasis on building community, as well as building homes, the quality of life of life for our residents will go up.”
The Pohlad Foundation funded the construction of a pilot tiny house for Envision. It will be set up in the parking lot of Elim Church in Northeast Minneapolis later this summer. Additional funding for Envision Community has come through the Family Housing Fund and the McKnight Foundation.
Two adjacent city lots will be needed to build the project on, with easy access to public transportation and walkable amenities. The property has not yet been found.

If you want people to listen, you have to speak up
Rome Darring is also a community leader on the project. When he first got involved with Envision, he found it hard to share his story of being homeless. He said, “I’ve gone through a lot of changes since this started. As an advocate for the homeless, I was at the State Capitol today participating in a press conference. I was so nervous about it that I couldn’t sleep at all the night before. But I’ve learned that if you want people to listen, you have to be willing to speak – so I made myself stand up and do it.”
Visit the Envision Community website at www.hennepinhealthcare.org/envision-community/ for more information.

 

 

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Community response to a global situation

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Coronavirus Pandemic

Neighbors got outside and built community near Brackett Park on Sunday, March 22, 2020 for the Corona-Cautious Classic biking extravaganza. Above, Hans, Ann, and Eve Thorkelson cheer on the participants. Below Ellen Sharratt participates. One child at a time, at 10 minute intervals, vied for Fastest Lap or Most Laps in 10 Minutes and competed for costume/spirit awards. Drinks, snacks, signs, bells, bullhorns were encouraged.

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
“We are continuing to bake bread because we believe in the power of such a basic food,” said Christopher MacLeod of Laune Bread, a microbakery and bread delivery service in South Minneapolis. “To our subscribers it carries a lot of meaning – it is a weekly ritual for many of them, but it is also nutrient dense and life sustaining.”
As restaurants closed to sit-down customers and with it their pick-up sites, MacLeod and his partner, Tiff Singh, asked themselves what they should do. Should they continue baking and delivering bread? Is it safe and smart?
“We are healthy, but that isn’t a guarantee, and it is scary. It gives us a lot of anxiety,” they admitted. “We have both been sitting in front of our computers hours on end every day corresponding with our subscribers and others who ask for bread, watching the news rapidly change, and trying to develop new logistical systems and also health and food safety procedures.”
They decided to discontinue pick-up locations and do delivery only. They dropped the $1 bike delivery fee, moved to car delivery, and narrowed their delivery area. They made some changes to reduce risk, including heavily cleaning and sanitizing surfaces and their hands during the bake, and wearing food safe gloves and face masks at all times after the bread comes out of the oven and during the delivery.
Their business is flexible because it is relatively small and operates without a storefront.
This week they added a second bake to keep up with demand and to offer people a chance to purchase bread at whatever price they could afford. “In 24 hours, 51 loaves of bread have been donated through our subscribers and the community at large,” observed MacLeod.
“We want to keep offering sustenance, but beyond our regular members – last week we donated 20 loaves (we donated 10 and our members paid for 10) through our members to people who needed them: school teachers, elderly neighbors, hair stylists, and families. It’s a language of humanity – the meaning of our bread spreads beyond the bakery to those who buy it, to those who are gifted it.”
Of those donated loaves, five went to a subscriber who shared them with others.
“Your bread fed: me, my partner teacher who is caring for her mother as she recovers from having her gallbladder removed, a friend of our gym teacher who was in need, the teacher I did student teaching with who just had to adopt the younger (half) sibling of one of her kids, and a teacher who is in treatment for breast cancer,” wrote the woman. “Thank you, from all of us.”
MacLeod and Singh recognize the situation is precarious and at some point they may discontinue baking bread, but right now they’re focusing on supporting their community and are being supported in return.
“We are a small business, but the ingredients we bake with make a big difference to many people,” they said.

Annual fish fry attendance drops, church works to
encourage parish family
Each year, hundreds of people line up at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Longfellow for the Friday night Fish Fry during Lent.
But not this year.
As Governor Walz declared a peacetime emergency on Friday, March 13, church volunteers debated whether to continue with that night’s fish fry. “We did go ahead and do the dinner on March 13 because it’s a little like stopping a locomotive on a dime to try to cancel at the last minute,” observed Erin Sim, the church office and communications manager.
“Gallons of coleslaw were ready, and many pounds of fish thawed. We served about 425 people that night, as opposed to the 1,100-1,350 we might have done on a regular third night. But even Archbishop Hebda came, as he hates to miss our Fish Dinners (which one of the local radio stations called ‘The Vegas of Fish Fries!’).”
The loss of revenue will have a huge impact on the church’s budget, as it is one of two major fundraisers held each year, according to Sim. “We miss the ‘fun raising’ as well, because we have such a good time showing our guests a warm welcome and feeding them well.”
The church is considering doing some variation of the dinners when it is safe to do so, perhaps tying fish ‘n’ chips in with its annual Bingo-Rama nights in July.
“Meanwhile, as with all the faith communities, we have cancelled our masses (daily and weekend) and all other gatherings until it’s safe to offer them again. We are live-streaming our Sunday morning 9:30 a.m. mass using Facebook Live on our St. Albert the Great Facebook page and then archiving the result on our website: www.saintalbertthegreat.org, under the Worship with Us tab.
“Our small staff will take turns spending a day in the office, Tuesday through Friday, but otherwise will work from home to keep publishing the Bulletin and trying to keep our parish family informed, encouraged and together in these days when we can’t interact in person.”

Kennedy Transmission offers home pick-up and drop-off
Kennedy Transmission CVT & Auto at 3423 E. Lake St. typically has appointments scheduled one to two weeks out as they are one of only a handful of shops in the U.S. that specialize in repair of CVT (Constant Variable Transmission) and Hybrid Drive systems. Their appointment calendar has dropped off dramatically the week beginning on Monday, March 23.
“I know a number of repair shops that have closed or are expecting to close very soon and this makes me very nervous. I have a small staff of very talented people who very much want to keep working as normal,” said owner Matt Johnson. “At this point we are classified an ‘essential’ sector of the economy to facilitate transportation and as such plan on staying healthy and working through the duration if at all possible.”
He has walled off the customer area from the front desk area with plexiglass, and employees are using the shop service door instead of the customer entrance. They are disinfecting door handles, countertops and hard surfaces throughout the day and doing a thorough bleaching at night. They are wiping down customer’s steering wheels and gear shifters after completing work.
“Although some of these measures slow our workflow a bit, I think we need to do everything practical to mitigate the risk of virus spread,” remarked Johnson.
“I have always said that we have the best customers and this has really been evident the past week,” said Johnson. ”I have received a lot of calls and visits just to check in on us and make sure things are going well. Our hope is that people are able to work and stay safe at the same time; and we can continue to maintain their vehicles. I think it is generally imperative that anyone showing possible symptoms of COVID-19 quarantine themselves to limit potential spread.”
To help those with underlying health issues as well as those who simply want to limit their time in public spaces, Kennedy Transmission has begun picking up customer vehicles and dropping them back off.
“We have also decided we would do whatever we can to provide basic help to our customers at no charge,” said Johnson. “In particular, if someone in the neighborhood needs a tire aired up or a jump-start, I will try and be there in a timely manner and get them back on the road. Although it may be a little thing, I think if everyone helps a little here or there, we will weather this better together.”
He is also making a few supply runs for neighborhood residents who need something from Target or Walgreens, fitting them in between his work responsibilities.
“If Italy, Spain, etc. have any parallel to the U.S. then things will get a lot worse before they get better,” observed Johnson. “Minneapolis is a wonderful community and I think basic best hygiene, social distancing and common sense practices as well as supporting our neighbors will be the key to weathering this crisis.”

Business organizations,
neighbors support each other
Businesses in the neighborhood are facing the challenge of adjusting to the new information and restrictions that are coming out daily, observed Kim Jakus of the Longfellow Business Association. Those without direct contact with the public are taking precautions for their employees and workplaces. Restaurants and retail locations are being hit harder, reducing hours, laying off workers, transitioning to online orders, implementing pick-up or delivery options, and offering gift cards for later redemption. They’re trying to figure out how to manage expenses, pinpoint which can be delayed and which still need to be paid.
“I see a lot of generosity from the community on Next Door encouraging neighbors to still support local businesses,” Jakus said.
Ward 12 Council Member Andrew Johnson has taken the lead on creating a Google spreadsheet listing all local businesses and whether they are still open or not. Find the link on his Facebook page.
The LBA, Lake Street Council and Redesign are partnering together to provide small businesses with information on resources available to them. They list items on their web sites and share them through regular email updates. Highlights include Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available for small businesses and monthly sales taxes have been deferred a month.
“We’re connecting on how we can work together to support businesses in our geographic scope. Probably a lot of that will come on the tail end of this crisis and figuring out what recovery looks like,” observed Jakus.

Trying to manage life
in a pandemic
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Longfellow resident Don Hammen became selective about when he left his house. On March 15, he took a tape measure to church to ensure there was over six feet between him and others.
He decided to skip the Neighborhoods 2020 meeting the next day, although it pained him. But he was still planning to pull together Elder Voices (Telling Our Stories) at Turtle Bread as usual the fourth Friday of the month.
He stocked up on frozen foods and canned goods, and continued to use Meals on Wheels. As the week went on, he discovered that buying groceries through Cub Home Delivery was becoming harder. He could no longer place a delivery in the morning and get it later that day; instead, a Thursday order wouldn’t come until Sunday.
Being dependent on mass transit, Hammen was confident he could continue to use it to get around. Things changed later in the week when Mass Transit announced new guidelines on how many people could be on a bus and restricting non-essential travel. “I can live with this but if they ever did a complete shut down I would have a real problem,” said Hammen.
Complicating things is that his refrigerator appears to be dying.
He’s wondering how “we are in this together” is actually playing out at the neighborhood level. Will social distancing mean social isolation?
“The fact of the matter is I’m still trying to figure out how to manage my life in this COVID-19 situation,” Hammen said.

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If you can sew, you can help

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN

Michelle Hoaglund, owner of St. Paul’s Treadle Yard Goods, handed out the first of 50 free fabric kits last weekend. Her store made the kits available for people to sew facemasks for health care workers. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

One critical need that has emerged over the past several days is the need for more personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gowns, in hospitals and other health care settings. In recent days, doctors and nurses have warned that they are running out of equipment to stay safe as they diagnose and treat patients.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Allina Health, along with several community partners, have launched a statewide volunteer effort, calling for people to sew and donate facemasks for doctors, nurses, and other medical staff.
Michelle Hoaglund is the owner of Treadle Yard Goods, a well-established, much loved fabric store on Hamline and Grand avenues in St. Paul. Partnering with the non-profit Sew Good Goods, Hoaglund and her dedicated staff were able to put together 50 free kits with enough cotton fabric and elastic to make 28 CDC approved face masks.
Distribution of the kits began at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 22. By 1:05 p.m., according to Hoaglund, all of the kits were gone. The line of people, which had started to form at noon, stretched all the way to the end of the block and around the corner. People maintained a safe distance between one another, and many came to the store to buy their own material once the free kits had been given away.
“It was,” Hoaglund said, “beyond what any of us could have imagined.” She estimated there were between 80-100 people waiting in line and mused, “People who sew are just not the kind to sit around on the couch in a time of crisis.”
Treadle Yard Goods will likely continue to make more kits available and, at least at the time of printing, the store remains open for shopping. Check www.treadleyardgoods.com for updates.
If you would like to use fabrics you currently have in your own stock pile, note the following guidelines: be sure to use fabric that is 100% cotton: tightly woven for the front, flannel or other soft 100% cotton for the back. If you have any doubts about the content of your fabric, don’t use it. Prewash all fabric on hot and dry on high heat to ensure pre-shrinkage. Area hospitals or other providers will sanitize the masks.
Instructions involve the use of elastic. If that is not available, you can make fabric ties (self-made ties or twill tape), one in each of the four corners. Each tie should have a finished length of 18 inches. To make your own ties, cut fabric strips 1 ¼” wide, fold in half and press, then sew both outer edges in to the middle with a single seam. Knot the ends to keep from fraying.
It is advisable to use contrasting fabrics, so there is an obvious front and back side.
In this extraordinarily difficult time for small business owners, Hoaglund said, “I made my peace with all of the uncertainty a few days ago. I thought, we can’t control any of what is happening right now – but it’s how you love your neighbor that counts.”
Instructions and drop-off points for the CDC-approved design, approved by Allina Health, are available at sewgoodgoods.org.
This link contains additional useful information: https://blog.bluecrossmn.com/covid19masks/
Many organizations in addition to hospitals have a need for masks including homeless shelters and funeral homes.

 

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Schools revised?

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Minneapolis schools propose major overhaul

Minneapolis Public Schools has proposed some sweeping changes that would affect where 63% of its students attend school beginning in fall 2021. Parents brought their questions about high school changes to a meeting at Roosevelt High on Feb. 24, 2020. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN
Here’s what you need to know about how the Minneapolis Public School Comprehensive District Design would affect high schools.
• High school transition would begin with 2021-22 incoming ninth graders.
• 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students would remain in current high schools until graduation.
• This proposal aligns high school boundaries with middle school attendance areas to keep middle school cohorts together.
• It builds enrollment on the north side. Right now, North High is at 17.5% capacity with only 326 students.
Career and Tech Ed
The district is seeking to centralize its Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs by consolidating classes at three sites.
1) North Tech Center at North High: engineering, computer science-information technology, robotics, and web and digital communications
2) Northeast Tech Center at Edison High: business, law and public safety, and agriculture
3) South Tech Center at Roosevelt High: auto, construction, machine tool, welding, and healthcare
• Schools that lose their CTE programming could opt to have afterschool programs and clubs, or use school budgets for elective courses.
• Currently, across MPS, CTE is up to 82.2% underenrolled

Vote planned in April
In December 2017, the district began comprehensive design with system-wide assessment, and the school board authorized the superintendent to create recommendations for changes in the district at its Oct. 19, 2019 meeting. The district released its high school plans to the public in late February 2020. The board plans to vote on the design in April despite community requests to take more time.

 

High School Boundaries
Above: Current

Below: Proposed revision

Under the proposed plans, K-5 and 6-8 magnet schools would be moved so that they are more centrally located, markedly changing school options in South Minneapolis. The district would stop offering K-8 options, which are heavily used by immigrant groups. Several magnet programs would go away, including Folwell, Dowling, Bancroft, Windom and Armatage Montessori. Note colored dots.

Which elementary schools feed into which middle schools is modified under the proposal in an attempt to reduce transportation costs and create stronger community schools.

All graphics but top table courtesy of Minneapolis Public Schools.
Find detailed presentations on the district’s web site.

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Adopt-a-Drain: simple way to make a big difference and protect state waterways

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Sweep up, rake up, pick up!

(L>R) City Council Member Andrew Johnson with drain adopters Mandy LaBreche and Jillian Kaster are joined by Minneapolis Public Works Engineer Bryan Dodds at the 10,000th drain adopted by Mandy.

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Everyone knows that trash is no good for lakes, rivers, and streams. But do you know that natural debris such as leaves, grass clippings, and pet waste also pollute the waterways? When these natural pollutants are swept into the storm water system, they end up in the nearest body of water. Eventually the organic matter will break down, release phosphorous, and stimulate the growth of algae.
The Minneapolis Adopt-a-Drain Program was created in 2016 to help address this problem. Minneapolis joined a metro-wide program when it was launched last year.
The concept is simple, and it’s working. Residents learn about Adopt-a-Drain and volunteer on the program website (www.adopt-a-drain.org). Adopt-a-Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood, and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution. Volunteers commit to keeping a storm drain unimpeded. Storm drains flow directly into local lakes, rivers, and wetlands, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants.

Minneapolis leads cities
Program Manager Lane Christianson said, “2019 was a year of exceptional growth for the Adopt-a-Drain Program. We’re thrilled to report that Minneapolis is leading all cities in total participants and adopted storm drains. We had 1,561 storm drains adopted with 825 new participants last year. Most participants take care of multiple drains; some do entire intersections. We ask volunteers to sweep/rake/shovel leaves, trash and other debris off the drain surface year round.”
Volunteers can report as often as they like – but are asked to report their observations at least twice yearly, in the spring and fall via an online account. For those who don’t have access to the online system, a reporting postcard is mailed out annually.
Christianson recommends the following tools for making the job easier: broom, rake, gloves, snow shovel or dustpan, pail, and compostable yard waste bag.

(L>R) Mandy LaBreche and Jillian Kaster; drain adopters with the 10; 000th adopted drain.

He said, “Only the surface of the storm drain grate and the area around it should be cleaned. Do not remove the grate or otherwise attempt to clean inside the storm drain. If your drain is plugged, contact the city of Minneapolis at 311.”
As part of the job, waste is separated and placed in the appropriate trash, recycling, or compost carts at the volunteer’s home. Note that sediment or dirt collected in the spring is not compostable, as it likely contains chemical residue from deicers used over the winter and motor oil. Bag it, and put it in the trash.
Once these pollutants get into the storm water system and start to decay, organic matter releases nutrients (phosphorous is the biggest culprit) that feed algae and invasive plants.
When lakes get covered with algae, sunlight can’t reach the bottom and desirable plants start to die off. In the long term, the ecosystem changes so fewer aquatic animals, fish, and native plants can survive.

Make a big difference
Christianson said, “It doesn’t take a lot of time to clean a storm drain, and it makes a big difference collectively. Volunteers like Mandy LaBreche, who recently adopted the 10,000th drain through our program, are eager to do something that makes a positive difference in improving local water quality.”
Minneapolis participants receive a yard sign that helps spread the word about this volunteer program. For more information or to adopt-a-drain of your own, go to www.adopt-a-drain.org.

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Quilt Shop Co-op opening at former Glad Creations location

Posted on 24 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN

Quilt Shop Co-op board members (left to right) Steve Budas, Jennie Baltutis, and Amy Swanson. The empty shelves will soon be stocked when the first ever, consumer-owned fabric store opens in South Minneapolis this year. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

The storefront at 3400 Bloomington Ave. S. housed a beloved fabric store called Glad Creations for 43 years. When the owners retired last year, dedicated employees and customers weren’t willing to give up on their lively, well-established fabric arts community in the heart of the city.
After months of preparation, they have plans for launching the first ever, cooperatively owned and managed fabric store in the U.S. The Quilt Shop Co-op is already 300 members strong, and is reaching out to sewing enthusiasts near and far to become founding members.
Board member Amy Swanson said, “Our membership demographics show zip codes from throughout the Twin Cities and out-state Minnesota. People are passionate about supporting the co-operative small business model, and about supporting fabric arts.”

Become a member
A consumer-owned business relies on many community members investing in a business they care about. A one-time membership share at the Quilt Shop Co-op costs $120. To become a member, mail a check to 3400 Bloomington Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55407, or join online at www.quiltshopcoop.com.
Every member makes the same financial commitment, and receives the same benefits from the co-op’s success. Benefits include special member-only events, being asked to influence inventory selection and class topics through periodic member surveys, quarterly member discounts and annual patronage refunds once the shop is profitable, access to the community meeting space, and the satisfaction of supporting a small business in the local community.
Former Glad Creations employee and co-op board member Jennie Baltutis attended a class sponsored by the city of Minneapolis for business owners interested in the co-op model (see side bar). With the help of program consultants, she wrote a business plan for the Quilt Shop Co-op and learned about financing options.
Baltutis said, “I learned that many small businesses are closing because their owners are retiring. We’ve seen a lot of that in the Twin Cities. According to U.S. Small Business Administration data, only 20% of small businesses listed for sale actually sell. Adopting the co-operative business model can keep a business alive well into the future. The fact that a successful fabric store existed in this site for more than 40 years speaks to our customer base. It means that the feasibility study has already been done.”

More than a store
A consumer-owned co-op is much more than a store. An elected board ensures the health of the co-op and represents its members. It seems particularly appropriate for a fabric store because sewing and quilting have deep roots in community.
Board member Amy Swanson said, “Having a co-operative structure allows us to dream big. We’ll have a beautiful store that people can shop in, but maybe one day we’ll also have a mobile sewing lab? People need to learn how to sew and to fix things. The ethos of a co-op says, ‘What is best for your neighborhood, your community?’ With this model, co-op members will have a real voice in asking for what they want and need.”
In order for the Quilt Shop Co-op to secure financing through their lender, Shared Capital Co-operative, they need to have a steady increase in membership.
Board chairman Steve Budas said, “It’s essential that we double our membership in the coming months. In the short term, we are also looking for help with getting the word out to people that a beloved fabric store will live on in South Minneapolis. We have a strong six-person board and our financing application is in the final stages of review.
“In these months before we open, we need to establish social media accounts so that we can reach as many prospective members as possible. Ideally, we’re hoping to find a couple of volunteers willing to work 2-3 hours per week on this.” Email info@quiltshopcoop.com, if interested.

Co-op training available
The city of Minneapolis offers a Co-operative Technical Assistance Program (C-TAP) at no cost for participants. The feasibility training is available to new co-operatives, and existing businesses interested in converting to a co-operative model. The program also provides one-on-one technical assistance.

The city believes the co-op model benefits community by:
• Acting as an economic development tool to reduce poverty and promote social cohesion.
• Increasing racial and ethnic diversity in business ownership.
• Supporting innovation, community building, and local investment by encouraging a more collaborative business model.

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Five vie at 63B forum

Posted on 08 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

2020: GET TO KNOW YOUR OPTIONS

By Jill Boogren
With longtime Rep. Jean Wagenius’s announcement last November that she would not be seeking reelection in 2020 to her seat in the Minnesota State Legislature, several candidates are now vying to represent the portions of south Minneapolis and Richfield that make up House District 63B.
In late January, five DFL candidates got a chance to introduce themselves and present their views to several dozen residents at a DFL candidate forum held at the Richfield Community Center.
The two-hour forum, moderated by the DFL’s Amy Livingston and Thomas Anderson, was structured around five prepared questions, with none taken from the audience.
In this historically left-voting district, all five candidates promoted progressive platforms. But while there were areas in which there was broad agreement – the need to address disparities between white residents and people of color in education, housing and health care, providing mental health services, addressing climate change – candidates did differentiate themselves in terms of priority and approach.
The result? An information-packed evening that left people with plenty to ponder.
Here are brief excerpts from candidates’ introductions and what they stated as their priorities to kick off the forum.

Emma Greenman
Having experienced “both comfort and poverty,” Emma Greenman said she would never forget the feeling of getting off a waiting list for subsidized housing and moving into the Towers at Cedar-Riverside, for the safety and security it provided as her mom struggled with mental illness.
A former Wellstone organizer and voting rights attorney, Greenman called 2020 “a make or break moment for our democracy,” which she said is under attack by voter suppression and money in politics. She wants to focus on fixing the system first.
“Before we can tackle the issues, we have to start by repairing and reimagining our democracy,” she said. “…When you look at common sense gun violence legislation, when you look at issues of criminal justice reform, when you look at issues of clean energy… what is holding us back is a concentrated attack on our democracy.”
Her first priority would be to restore the right to vote. She called for automatic voter registration and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year olds, and for ensuring every dollar spent on ads is disclosed.
Tyler Moroles
For Tyler Moroles, formerly with the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and currently a manager of the Community Development Block Grant Development program in Hennepin County, addressing inequities in home ownership is a top priority.
“We have some of the worst inequalities in home ownership [between] people of color and white folks,” he said. He wants to see a renters bill of rights that ensures landlords give advance notice of vacating property and are not vacating for no reason, that gives tenants legal protections and establishes a tenant defense fund.
“Usually landlords have lawyers, tenants do not,” said Moroles.
He would also double the amount of funding for the Housing Finance Agency, which he said is twice as likely as private market lenders to give a direct home buyer assistance loan to a household of color. Moroles would also work to reduce property tax, so people, especially seniors trying to “age in place,” don’t get pushed out of their homes.
He also called for immigrants’ rights, expressing support for Driver’s Licenses for All, a bill passed by the House in 2019 that has not yet been taken up by the Senate. Born and raised in the district, Moroles describes his father as a Mexican-American Chicano migrant worker who lived “as a second class citizen his whole life.” He became addicted to opioids and died when Moroles was two years old. He was raised by his mother, who worked at a nursing home to provide for him. She was in the audience at the forum.

Husniya Dent Bradley
Husniya Dent Bradley, a chemist, campaign organizer, lawyer and program administrator/counselor for career and professional development at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, said her first priority would be to work with the Metropolitan Council and the Transportation Planning Commission on solutions for the I-494 underpass and for Crosstown Highway 62. She said the proposed MnPASS lane on I-494 could also be done on Crosstown Highway 62 and suggested widening the freeways by getting easements on some of the homes. In addition to the METRO Orange Line (I-35W Bus Rapid Transitway), she suggested adding a faster train over Portand Ave.
“That would definitely ease some of the congestion and some of the transportation issues,” she said.
Dent Bradley moved with her parents from Cincinnati to Chicago, where they were involved in voting rights and marches. In his job at the postal service, her dad helped union workers fight for union rights, which is where Dent Bradley learned about speaking up and the importance of people making their voices heard. Ultimately her family moved to 43rd and Chicago Ave. in Minneapolis, where they dealt with public assistance as well as having to vacate their home due to basement flooding.

Eric Ferguson
With a campaign slogan, “What’s the Big Idea?”, Eric Ferguson, website developer, actor and three-term former DFL chair of Senate District 63, is banking on his “big ideas.” Namely, three.
The first is to use pumped hydro to create an energy storage system that would use excess power (produced from solar and wind) to push water up to a reservoir, which could then be released over hydro turbines to recreate the electricity when it’s needed again.
“If we’re going to allow renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, we have to deal with the problem of renewables not providing baseload power,” he said. “We’ll probably have battery power eventually, but global warming isn’t waiting for eventually.”
His next idea is to cover the freeways, which tore out many homes and entire neighborhoods when they were built, to create space to build more housing.
Third, he would offer a free college plan he calls “Commit to Minnesota,” which would make any post-secondary education free if students commit to living in Minnesota for five years after they leave school.
Ferguson knows it would take time to build support for these ideas, so in order to get something passed quickly, his immediate priority would be to address “a local problem that is very solvable”: expanding noise mitigation – better windows and air conditioning – to the parts of Richfield that are under the airport flyways.
Jerome T. Evans
Jerome T. Evans grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, went to Georgia Tech, then law school. After practicing law for a few years, he moved to Minnesota.
Evans, who now chairs the Nokomis East Neighborhood Association, is co-chair of the Minneapolis Public Health Advisory Committee and serves as president of his condo association, said he and his partner, Aaron, are considering growing their family of two. In putting on his “Dad hat,” he found the data to be disturbing.
“If we have a child that looks like me [a person of color] and we put them through our public education system, they will receive a lower quality education than if they look like Aaron [who is white],” said Evans. “And that does not align with our values.”
Evans emphasized the need to take a data-driven approach when talking to Republicans in the Senate.
“You can talk racial justice with them until you’re blue in the face, and you will not get anything done,” he said. “Let’s start talking data, let’s keep it real, leave the rhetoric behind.”
His first priority would be to create the “Minnesota Hope Scholarship,” which would provide a pathway for low-income students of any ethnicity to get into college in Minnesota without having to pay for tuition.

‘Five good candidates’
After the first round, candidates responded to questions about improving public safety, addressing health care needs and crisis services, addressing homelessness and affordable housing, and strengthening Minnesota’s schools, with a final round asking candidates to talk about anything that was missing (see the Q & A guide on the previous page for a snapshot of these responses).
Following closing remarks, residents and candidates mingled for a few minutes. Asked to comment, Judy Moe, of Richfield Disability Advocacy Partnership, shared her impression.
“The biggest thing I noticed is lack of mention of the disability community,” she said, despite candidates discussing other demographics and the fact that transportation, housing and health care all apply. She did acknowledge that Greenman specifically mentioned accessible housing.
DFL Senate District 63 Secretary Larry Nelson offered his take. “I think we have five good candidates. All of them have good strengths and experiences they’ll bring to the Capitol.”
This forum is viewable by searching the SD63 DFL Open Discussion Forum on Facebook. The next DFL candidate forum for House Seat 63B will take place Saturday, March 28, 1-3 p.m., at Washburn Library, 5244 Lyndale Ave. S. DFL precinct caucuses were held Feb. 25, and the Senate District 63 DFL endorsing convention will take place Sunday, April 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Sanford Middle School (3524 42nd Ave. S.).

GOP candidate
Frank Pafko is running for GOP endorsement as the candidate for MN House of Representatives in District 63B. He ran in 2016 and 2018 against Rep. Jean Wagenius, who won her reelection by wide margins.

 

VOTE in the presidential primary March 3
In 2016, legislation was passed creating a presidential nomination primary, Minnesota’s first since 1992. The 2020 primary will be held Tuesday, March 3.

To vote, you must choose which party’s ballot you want. Two major parties are participating in the presidential primary, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party and the Republican Party.

http://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/election-day-register
Use the Voter Registration Lookup to see if you’re already registered.
Find your polling place.
Provide proof of residence.
Dial 311 Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., for election and other city information.

 

All genders invited to League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization open to all genders that:

• Encourages informed and active participation in government

• Works to increase understanding of major public policy issues

• Influences public policy through education and advocacy

The Civic Buzz meets the first Tuesday of each month, with new topics and speaker, followed by discussion. 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Black Forest Inn, Minneapolis. There will be no March Civic Buzz meeting as people are encouraged to vote in the Presidential primary election.

Get involved. Call the League office at 612-333-6319 or drop by 310 E. 38th St. Suite 205 at the Sabathani Center 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday – Friday.

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