Central Corridor Related - Twin Cities News
In a long, brick, but otherwise nondescript building on Stinson Boulevard, Scott Ervin has opened the first micro-distillery in Minneapolis, Norseman Distillery. Elsewhere in the building, kids study karate, metalworkers fashion swords used in blockbuster movies, and a clay company sells materials and sculpting supplies. In a dark, quiet basement room, below the hubbub, Ervin mills and mashes his grains, pitches the yeast, and guides the alcohol through fermentation and distillation.
His companions are a good book and his two “boozehounds,” Rocket and Max.OAS_AD("Middle");
Ervin’s first product, Norseman Vodka, distributed by Johnson Brothers, becomes available this month at select liquor stores.
“So many people think premium vodka has to come from Europe,” Ervin says. “It doesn’t. Some of the best ingredients are grown right here in the Midwest.” Norseman Distillery, also the first distillery to open in the city since 1999, is determined to prove it so.Grain-to-glass distillery
“Surprisingly, many large-scale distilleries and even some of the micro guys don’t actually make the spirits they sell,” Ervin says. “They purchase NGS, sometimes labeled neutral grain spirits, from fuel ethanol plants and resell it. That just didn’t sound right to me.”
Instead, Ervin says, Norseman is a “true grain-to-glass distillery.” He buys his malted barley from a Shakopee company that uses windpower. He mills the barley, corn, and rye in a repurposed industrial coffee grinder. He mixes the milled grains with yeast and sugar, and puts the mixture into one of his 275-gallon tanks (which sit on water-bed heaters). After topping off the tank with water and taking a few measurements, he lets the mixture cook.
“Making really great spirits is like making really great chocolate-chip cookies,” Ervin says. “The recipes are generally pretty similar, but the devil is in the details. You really have to dedicate yourself to the process to set your product apart.”
Ervin staggers the fermentations so a fresh batch is ready every two days, which is where the books come in handy.
“I’ve spent the last couple of months more or less living down here,” he says, “I taste test the product as it comes off the still, sometimes every few minutes. That way I can cherry pick only the best quality cuts. It takes a lot of time to do it right, but it’s worth it!”
Once the yeast finish eating the sugar in the wash and the alcohol level is over 10 percent, Ervin pumps the liquid into the stripping still — a tall column that uses steam to separate the alcohol from the wash. The resulting raw alcohol is then redistilled in a second finishing still with a bulbous boiler and special column Ervin built for fractional distillation.
What drips out at this stage is near pure alcohol that tastes a tad sweet and velvety. Ervin separates this material into three cuts: the heads, which smell like rubbing alcohol; the hearts, which comprise Norseman Vodka; and the tails, which is basically the leftover mix of lower-grade alcohols.
When he’s done distilling, Ervin cuts the alcohol with a bit of water down to 80-proof vodka, fills the bottles, applies the labels, and packs the labeled bottles into boxes. “I’ve designed and built everything here myself, right down to the labels,” Ervin says. “It’s a one-man show.”Architect turned distiller
An architect for 20 years, Ervin worked at Alchemy Architects in St. Paul, where he and Geoff Warner built and marketed the weeHouse. Ervin also helped design Bang Brewery for Sandy and Jay Boss Febbo in St. Paul: a 42-foot-round, prefabricated, corrugated-metal structure.
“I saw them doing something on a small scale and got inspired,” says Ervin, who started as home brewer. “I knew I could start something with not much square footage, and it didn’t have to cost a million dollars. I could bootstrap it. ”
Why not beer? “I think there’s just more room for invention with spirits,” Ervin says. “I enjoy beer as much as any red-blooded American. But after a while, the double and triple IPA’s start to blend together. I’m more of a whiskey kind of guy.”
Ervin’s next product will be gin. After that, he’ll move into bourbon and rum, “which take longer to make and have to barrel age.”
Meanwhile, the much-larger 11 Wells Spirits, started by Bob McManus and Lee Egbert in the former Hamm’s Brewery in St. Paul, will begin its distillery operation in January. Wells will be producing small batches of specialty gin, bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, malt whiskey, and rum. The distillery will also make Minnesota 13, a corn-based liquor notorious as a premium-quality moonshine during Prohibition.
Ervin isn’t worried. He’s tapped into the zeitgeist of entrepreneurship and innovative startups increasingly prevalent in the Twin Cities. He’s also fulfilling consumers’ growing desires for products made and produced locally. “More people want to know where ingredients come from, where something’s made and how it’s made,” Ervin says.
While the boom in micro-breweries attests to this desire, “the same thing is true with spirits,” he adds. A singular product with a mythical pedigree and the goal of “inspiring legendary cheer in those who drink it,” Norseman is ready for “Skol!”
This article is reprinted in partnership with The Line, an online chronicle of Twin Cities creativity in entrepreneurship, culture, retail, placemaking, the arts, and other elements of the new creative economy.
You know how when you are dieting, it seems like every place you look, there's news about diets? I wish I were dieting — because wherever I look, there's news about Alzheimer's.MORE »
You know how when you are dieting, it seems like every place you look, there's news about diets? I wish I were dieting — because wherever I look, there's news about Alzheimer's.
Along with my sisters and brothers, I'm shuttling back and forth to my parents' home this week, making sure that my mom has someone with her as she copes with the increasing toll of my father's Alzheimer's disease, which will soon put him in a skilled nursing facility. I know we are one family among a multitude, but I also know that each family's experience of the vicious progression of the disease is unique, and uniquely painful.
BBC reported December 4 that dementia cases, including Alzheimer's, are set to triple worldwide by 2050, going from 44 million people today to 135 people living with the disease by 2050. As more people live longer, more will be living longer with Alzheimer's and other dementia. Rather than being a disease of rich countries, it will be a disease of everyone, with more than 90 million in poor and middle-income countries that lack the capacity to offer assistance to patients and families.
The numbers come from the Alzheimer Disease International organization, which advocates for more money for research on prevention and treatment. Those are laudable goals, but the staggering cost of Alzheimer's today is the cost of caregiving. That means families and in-home care and community-based services.
For more information:
Alzheimer's Association, Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter (24/7 helpline 1.800.272.3900)
The Arc Minnesota 651-604-8066
My mom's care for my dad has gone on for years — according to the doctors, far past the point when most people have to seek assisted living facilities or nursing home care. As a spouse, she doesn't get paid for caring for dad, but other people may be assisted by paid in-home caregivers.
Adult day centers are another great resource, providing some care and structured activity, and some respite time for family members who are otherwise on duty 24/7. Until very recently, that's been a big help for my parents.
According to a press release from The Arc Minnesota, a coalition of 103 disability and senior community organizations called today for a five percent increase in state support for community-based services.
“'Community-based services that provide support to older adults and Minnesotans with disabilities are a critical component to helping them maintain good health and independence, allowing them to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible,' said Steve Piekarski, co-chair of The 5% Campaign and associate vice president of older adult services at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. 'A five percent increase for these Minnesotans and those who provide them with care should be a top budget priority next session.'
"The estimated $86 million would provide a rate increase for home and community-based services that support 93,700 older adults and people with disabilities, with the bulk of the money going to compensation increases for roughly 90,800 caregivers."
While most people think of Alzheimer's in terms of dementia, it also takes a physical toll, including difficulty in walking and swallowing, loss of muscle control and impaired reflexes.
In some ways, our family has been lucky. With support from family, community resources, and, most of all, the love and courage and unstinting work of my mother, my dad has been able to live at home for long years after the onset of the disease. Now that time is coming to a close. It's no longer safe for him to stay at home.
As we walk along this road, the calls of the Alzheimer's Association for increased research and of the 5% Campaign for better funding for community-based services both make a lot of sense to me.
State leaders will enter the 2014 legislative session with a projected $825 million budget surplus. However, caution is being urged.MORE »
State leaders will enter the 2014 legislative session with a projected $825 million budget surplus. However, caution is being urged.
Those were the messages from Minnesota Management & Budget as the November Economic Forecast was released. The twice-annual forecast provides a snapshot of the state’s economy and predicts if the state should have a projected surplus or budget deficit.
“This is certainly a better problem to have than the alternative,” said Gov. Mark Dayton.
According to MMB, the projected balance for the 2014-15 biennium is $1.086 billion; however, the first $246 million of the balance must statutorily be used to complete repayment of the K-12 school property tax recognition shift. Another $15 million will go to the state airports fund to restore money that was first borrowed in 2008.
“Paying back our schools is a victory for Minnesota kids and for our future,” said House Speaker Paul Thissen (DFL-Mpls). “In addition, our commitment to responsible budgeting is paying off. For a decade, Minnesota backed itself in a corner with short-term budget fixes, shifts and gimmicks which limited the choices we had to make the investments we need to make.”
State's economy makes gains
MMB Commissioner Jim Schowalter said Minnesota is one of the top states when it comes to economic performance, while the continued federal political budget and spending fights are resulting in a slightly weaker U.S. economic outlook.
According to an executive summary, the state’s economy continues to make solid gains: “Stronger employment and income growth in 2013 are contributing to a $787 million increase in forecast revenue in the current biennium due to projected increases in income and corporate tax collections. Forecast spending is down $247 million due in part to lower health and human services spending.”
State Economist Laura Kalambokidis said the state’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8 percent in October, the lowest since the recession began in December 2007. The number is 2.5 percent below the national rate.
However, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) said it is not time for “a victory lap,” noting that 49 percent of Minnesotans are still unemployed or underemployed.
“What it means is Minnesota families are making less money than they did prior to the recession,” he said. “Minnesota families deserve a full economic recovery. Unfortunately, while we do have a bit of a budget surplus right now, Democrats took $2.1 billion, a historic tax increase, from hard-working Minnesotans. Minnesotans, quite frankly, don’t care how much money the government has to spend, they care how much their family has to spend. … Now is the time to really focus on improving the situation for Minnesota families.”
Kalambokidis also said corporate profits are running high, and that higher income and corporate tax estimates are the source of almost all of the additional forecast revenue.
“This confirms the Minnesota model for economic success - a balanced approach” Dayton said. “We’re not the lowest-taxed state, we don’t strive to be – we haven’t been under Republican governors or Democratic governors – but we’re a high-value state. By putting money into education we have a well-educated workforce, we look at high-value manufacturing. … The fact that we’re the fifth-fastest growing state economy in the country and other objective measures just show that that kind of fear-mongering and nay-saying about Minnesota, which is, unfortunately the norm in parts of our system in the state, are once again being defied by the facts.”
Before legislators and special interest groups begin to salivate about what can be done with the new money, Schowalter urged caution.
“This is a great place to be, but we know that we’re very early in the biennium,” he said. “We know that there are a lot of uncertainties out there and we want to be sure that any changes we do make are sustainable, whether they are tax changes or spending changes. That’s going to require consistent fiscal management that has gotten us to this point. Or repaying the shifts and replenishing the reserves.”
Added House Majority Leader Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul): “It’s premature to throw a ticker-tape parade.”
Another forecast is scheduled to be released near the end of February, which, coincidentally, will be right around the Feb. 25 start of the 2014 session. Schowalter says there's always the potential that the February forecast could show a very different picture.
Dayton said he will not release a supplemental budget until after the February forecast is released.
“If these numbers hold, I expect to propose the elimination of all three business-to-business sales taxes effective April 1, 2014, at a cost of $231 million for the rest of the biennium,” Dayton said. “My other priority is a tax cut for middle-income Minnesotans by, for example, conforming to all the federal tax cuts, which would cost about $205 million this biennium. That would include eliminating the marriage penalty, which would reduce state taxes for some 640,000 Minnesota taxpayers and it would include increasing the working-family credit, which would lower state taxes for about 53,000 taxpayers.”
“We’re here to help him keep that promise,” said Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie).
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Katie Sieben (DFL-Newport) was not willing to say if the Senate DFL would support a repeal of the business-to-business taxes passed last session.
“We’ll want to look at the February forecast and get those more up-to-date numbers before those decisions are made,” she said.© 2013 Session Daily
South Minneapolis Healthcare Enrollment Events
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, there are new and expanded health insurance options for individuals and small employers.
Enrollment information will be available on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
at Sabathani Community Center, 310 E. 38th St., Suite 200.
Learn about MNsure. Find a health insurance plan that fits both your budget and healthcare needs. There will be free in-person assistance to help you find, compare and get enrolled in a health insurance plan. Somali, Spanish and Hmong language speakers will be there to assist you.
Scheduled appointments are available and encouraged. To make an appointment, contact Liz Xiong, healthcare organizer, at 651-379-0754 or lizx [at] takeactionminnesota [dot] org.
To get ready for your appointment, gather the following information:
Household income—your best estimate of your household’s annual taxable income for the current year.
Social Security numbers—bring Social Security numbers (or document numbers for documented immigrants).
Employer coverage information—know how much employee
premiums cost at your work.
This event is sponsored by TakeAction Minnesota and other organizations including the Cultural Wellness Center, CLUES and Sabathani.
TakeAction Minnesota, with offices in St. Paul, Duluth and Grand Rapids, advances social, racial and economic justice.
Spark Wellness Moves into Mike’s Corner Store Space
Spark Wellness, holistic clinic and yoga studio is moving into the previous home of Mike’s Corner Store on 56th and Chicago Ave. in S. Minneapolis. Spark Wellness hopes to move into its newly
revitalized space before the first of the year, continuing its current services.
Parent Resource Group Meets in Minneapolis
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota provides support groups for families of children with mental illness. The support groups will help parents discover resources to meet the challenges of raising a child with mental illness, learn coping skills and develop problem-solving skills. A parent resource group meets the first Saturday of each month, from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m., at Lake Nokomis Recreation Center, 4955 W. Lake Nokomis Pkwy., in the arts and crafts room. This group also offers bilingual support for Spanish-speakers. For more information call Susan at 612-424-1823.
From Council Member Cam Gordon
The Council’s Community Development Committee has voted to apply for $635,000 in grant funds for environmental investigation and cleanup for Phase III of the Seward Commons development. The granting agencies are the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Contamination Cleanup and Investigation Grant Program, the Metropolitan Council’s Tax base Revitalization Account Grant Program and the Hennepin County Environmental Response Fund. The old Tri-State building at 34th Ave. S. and 25th St. E. is moving to a public auction. The underlying zoning of the building is residential, and it may have lost its nonconforming rights as an industrial building. Future use of the building may require rezoning to a low-density office residence district. My office has been in contact with Seward Redesign, and it sounds like there are several people interested in turning this building into something that benefits the broader neighborhood and fits in well with the uses along 25th St. E.
Grocery Distribution Volunteers Needed
3rd Thursday of every month, 4 to 7 p.m.
3100 E. 28th St.
In partnership with Target, Second Harvest Heartland is coordinating monthly grocery distributions through a mobile food pantry at 11 elementary schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This is a great volunteer opportunity for individuals and small groups looking to give direct, personal service in a fun, energetic environment. Call 651-282-0901 for details.
Seward Winter Frolic: Art in the ‘hood
Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 7 & 8, (Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., 12 to 5 p.m.)
All day long, businesses will be offering specials and local artists will display their work at several venues. There will be pedicabs driving shoppers all over the neighborhood. At 5 p.m. Saturday shoppers, residents and businesses are invited to gather in Triangle Park (26th Ave. & E. Franklin Ave.) to light up the park, creating a symbol of our warm community spirit during the cold days of winter.
“On the NSA” Talk by Coleen Rowley
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m.
May Day Bookstore
301 Cedar Ave.
The former FBI agent will speak about her recent trip to Moscow to present Edward Snowden the “Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.” Sponsored by MN Peace Action Coalition (MPAC). FFI: 612-333-4719 or www.maydaybookstore.org.
Free Defensive Driving Classes
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 12 to 5 p.m.
Dan Cheung’s Office
4020 Minnehaha Ave. S.
Defensive driving classes for people who are 55 or older. After completion of the DD class, participants will get a 10% discount for their car insurance no matter which insurance company they are with.
6th Annual Holiday Sale
Saturday, Dec. 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 15, 12 to 5 p.m.
Vine Arts Center
2637 27th Ave. S.
Discover unique art made by Vine Arts Center members. Come for two days of eclectic shopping and opportunities to chat and meet with the artists. The holiday sale includes ceramics, woodworking, painting, fine art collage, fiber arts and clothing, framed prints, cards, body care products, homemade food goodies and much more!
21st Annual Women’s Art Festival
Saturday, Dec. 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2121 E. Lake St.
The festival features art made and sold by local women. This year there are over 125 artists participating, selling jewelry, photography, pottery, textiles, food and much more. There is live music by women throughout the day. Come browse, shop, listen, visit with friends, enjoy!
Sunday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m.
St. Olaf Catholic Church
215 S. 8th St., Mpls 55402
Join us for this beloved holiday tradition! Our Messiah sing-along brings together singers of all ages in a spirited rendition of Handel’s masterwork, led by Minnesota Chorale soloists and ensemble members. Sing from our scores or bring your own. Conductor is Kathy Saltzman Romey and organist is Lynn Trapp. Free and open to the public; free-will offering accepted.
Potluck: Building a Movement Against Drones
Saturday, Jan. 11, 5-7 p.m.
4200 Cedar Ave. S.
Bring a dish to share and come hear from Anti-War Committee members Misty Rowan and Sophia Hansen-Day about the Code Pink Drone Summit they attended in Washington, D.C. Then we’ll have a discussion about what to do to continue to build a grassroots movement against drones. Families welcome. Organized by the Anti-War Committee.
Art | Music | Dance | Theater | Community | Museums
Moscow Ballet: The Great Russian Nutcracker
Orpheum Theater • 910 Hennepin Ave. • 612-339-7007
Sporting spectacular new costumes and crackling choreography, this is the Great Russian Nutcracker as you’ve never seen it before. Moscow Ballet’s designers, ballet masters and artists continue to present the vision of enchantment and wonder to audiences, bringing holiday traditions and the grandeur of Russian culture to the stage. Showing Dec. 6-7
All My Relations Gallery
1414 E. Franklin Ave.
Featuring the work of contemporary American Indian artists C. Maxx Stevens and Henry Payer. Both artists’ practices are largely influenced by the use of found and re-appropriated materials. These two artists utilize the embedded pasts of the found objects to create works that draw from history, aesthetics, meaning and stories that the materials carry. They then reorganize the materials to create fresh, thought-provoking expressions.
Through January 18, 2014
Gage Family Art Gallery
22nd Ave. at Riverside Ave.
Love is more talked about than surrendered to (for Charles Wright)
What barriers do we create to inhibit our access to the things that will provide meaning and fulfillment in our lives? Charles Matson Lume’s installation explores systems that limit illumination despite our desires that state otherwise.
Through December 19
Highpoint Center for Printmaking
912 W. Lake St.
Prints on Ice
An exhibition of prints by members of its artists’ studio cooperative. This winter’s cooperative show features work of 40 local printmakers currently working in Highpoints facilities. More than 70 pieces were selected, including lithographs, relief prints, intaglio prints and screenprints.
December 6 – January 25, 2014
Instinct Art Gallery
940 Nicollet Mall
God’s Sketchbook for Creation
This exhibition is revelation of the sketches, demo versions and rough-cut designs for earth’s animals that were edited out before creation. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get behind the scenes of creation and observe the working models, preliminary designs, a few outright failures, and some critters that simply did not “play well with others.” The sketchbook contains renditions of creatures that exist today, and perhaps more interestingly, the fantastical ones that might have been.
Through January 11, 2014
Northern Clay Center
2424 Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis-based artist Monica Rudquist explores the interplay and patterns between the interior and exterior of forms and the spaces created between the forms when they are set side by side. Making multiples and working in series is part of her working process and vocabulary, an integral part of how Rudquist works through ideas. The show will exhibit wall, pedestal and floor pieces, creating both large and small vignettes within the spaces.
Through January 5, 2014
2948 Chicago Ave. S.
It’s Good in the ‘Hood
Thaddeus Jameson’s colored drawings are mosaics of contradiction: What seems to be drawn from life comes from different historical eras and locations. Some of his work is informed by his photographic memory and sometimes gritty ‘70’s movies, as they can caricature where you live into something beguilingly far out.
Through January 10, 2014
Sound Unseen Monthly Movie
3258 Minnehaha Ave. S.
The Punk Singer
Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of the band Bikini Kill, dance-punk trio Le Tigre and currently, The Julie Ruin, rose to national attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the riot grrrl movement. She became one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons, a cultural lightning rod. So in 2005, when Hanna stopped shouting, many wondered why. Director Sini Anderson creates a biographical documentary of Hanna using 20 years of archival footage and in-depth interviews with the musician as well as other friends and fans.
Dec. 11, 7 p.m.
3010 Minnehaha Ave.
Davina and The Vagabonds Holiday Show
Davina and The Vagabonds have created a stir on the national blues scene with their high energy live shows, sharp-dressed professionalism and Davina Sowers’ commanding stage presence. Based out of the Twin Cities, they play hot jazz-blues-cabaret-soul-lounge-rock that warms the soul and just plain makes you want to dance! $10 at door (cash or check only).
Dec. 21, 8:30
Mill City Museum
704 S. 2nd St., Mpls. 55401
From Mill to Museum: The Hidden History of the Washburn Complex, 1965-2003
An exhibit of dramatic images and words about the Washburn A Mill during the years it sat abandoned; after General Mills shut down the mill in July 1965, this National Historic Landmark sat unused except for a few tenants, curiosity seekers and homeless people.
Through December 31
The Museum of Russian Art
5500 Stevens Ave. S.
The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost
In 1613, 16-year-old Mikhail Romanov was elected Tsar of Russia, inaugurating a 300-year dynasty. This exhibition provides an overview of the three centuries of Romanov rule, focusing on the tragic end of the dynasty in 1917-1918 and the dispersal of the remaining family members and their treasures after the Bolshevik revolution. The events that led to the collapse of imperial rule in Russia are well known, but what happened to their scattered property after the Bolsheviks seized power is a story still being unearthed.
Through March 23, 2014
818 S. 2nd St.
In a deliciously witty screwball comedy about a corrupt businessman trying to get ahead, Harry Brock, a junk-dealer millionaire on the rise, hunkers down in a lavishly decorated hotel room in Washington with his brassy chorus girlfriend Billie Dawn in tow. Hoping to influence a senator in some personal business dealings, he soon gets advice suggesting that the seemingly dim-witted blonde will need a little polish to get ahead in D.C. society. Brock hires a newspaperman for the task but gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a little bit of learning can be a dangerous thing.
Through January 5, 2014
2951 Lyndale Ave. S.
Driving Miss Daisy
In this affecting story, Daisy, an independent, aging Jewish widow—stubborn and set in her ways—reluctantly surrenders the driver’s seat of her car to Hoke Colburn, a proud, soft-spoken black man. What begins as a troubled and hostile pairing soon blossoms into a profound, life-altering friendship that transcends all the societal boundaries placed between them.
Through December 22
The Powderhorn Theatre Arts
Friday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 7, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m.
3400 15th Ave. S.
A Christmas Carol
Adapted for performance by Steven LaVigne, the third annual production of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece will be directed by Noreen K. Brandt. Free and open to the public.
Safe Place Homework Help
Monday – Friday, 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran Congregation
2001 Riverside Ave.
Adults students and children all welcome. Tutors available for all levels. Interested in being a volunteer or tutor? Need more information about the program? Contact 612-333-2561.
Senior Volunteers Needed
The Lutheran Social Service Foster Grandparent Program offers an opportunity to seniors 55+ to mentor and tutor elementary aged students at schools in South Minneapolis. Stipend, mileage and other benefits. Contact Sara Koch, 651-310-9448 or sara [dot] koch [at] lssmn [dot] org.
347 E. 36th St.
** Hosmer World Film Series
Sundays, Dec. 8, 1:30 p.m.
Get a glimpse of the diverse world we live in through this series of award-winning international films. Rare cinema at its finest!
** Hosmer World Music Concert Series
Saturdays, Dec. 7 & 14, 2 p.m.
Enjoy live music from around the world.
** Computer Class for Complete Beginners
Thursday, Dec. 19, 2:30 to 4 p.m.
Register online or call. Learn the difference between hardware and software, practice using a mouse and keyboard. Find out more about your computer training resources at the library. For students with
little or no experience using a
** Social Networking: Basics
Friday, Dec. 20, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Register online or call. Learn how to navigate the new generation of social media websites including Twitter, Linkedln and Facebook.
For hundreds of years, miners toiling deep in the earth have taken small birds with them. If the air got bad, the canary died and the miners knew they had to get out fast or perish. Today we use the expression “a canary in the mine” to indicate an early warning. Honeybees are that warning species for people.MORE »
For hundreds of years, miners toiling deep in the earth have taken small birds with them. If the air got bad, the canary died and the miners knew they had to get out fast or perish. Today we use the expression “a canary in the mine” to indicate an early warning. Honeybees are that warning species for people.
In mid-September, we had a honeybee warning right here in South Minneapolis.
First-year beekeeper Katherine Sill came home one day and saw thousands and thousands of bees on the pathway, some dead and some convulsing in their death throes. Katherine immediately phoned her bee mentor, Jenny Werner of the University of Minnesota Bee Squad. At almost the same time, neighboring beekeeper Mark Lucas was on the phone as well, having noticed that his bees were shaking on the edge of the hive and falling to the ground, dead. “They just come spilling out of the hive like they’re drunk,” said Lucas. The Bee Squad immediately got on the phone to warn Erin Rupp and Kristy Allen, co-owners of the Beez Kneez, a bee education company based in the Seward neighborhood, that their hive at Blake School in the Kenwood neighborhood might also be in danger.
It was. Katherine Sill estimates that two-thirds of her hive died. About a third of the Beez Kneez hive died. Some bees survived in each hive but, since bees need big populations to warm each other during cold Minnesota winters, it is likely that all three hives may be completely wiped out by spring, frozen to death.
In a way, it was a lucky tragedy, since the incident was investigated by both entomologists (insect scientists) at the university as well as scientists from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Independently, they found the insecticide fipronil, which is commonly sprayed on building foundations as well as in flower gardens—easy for bees to take home to their hives. It is legal and readily available.
Why a lucky tragedy, you ask? Because it is a very rare case where massive urban hive die-offs are discovered as the bees are actually dying, in time to figure out what killed them. There are lots of documented cases of bees killed by pesticides in rural areas, but this time is was a proven case in the city. We know what killed the bees and how it killed them. Worst of all, we know that the bees died from a cosmetic rather than agricultural application, and we now have proof that a completely optional use of pesticides on city flowers can kill as much as a massive spray with a crop-duster over a farmer’s field. Now we know.
Concern about insecticides—not just fipronil—led the Minneapolis Tree Advisory Commission to invite well-known insect scientist Vera Krischik to address them last month. The commission advises the park board regarding tree issues, one of which is Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive insect from Asia, typically treated with systemic insecticides, classed with names like neonicotinoids, emamectin benzoate and neem-derived products.
There are more than 40,000 public ash trees on Minneapolis public land alone, in parks and along our boulevards. Despite the treatment, every single one of these trees is going to die. They cannot be saved. The “treatment” costs between $100 and $400 per year per tree (depending on tree size), and it will kill the EAB that is in a tree that is infested but looks healthy. But you have to apply the stuff every year. When you stop the treatment, the EAB comes back and will kill the tree. So these treatments do prolong the life of our ash trees, but are the treatments themselves dangerous? Entomologist Vera Krischik studies these things, studies the chemicals, and she came to let us know what the science says so far.
My take-away: The treatments are dangerous to pollinators. And indirectly to us as humans. The problem is with flowering plants. Once neonicotinoids get into the flowers, the pollinators ingest them and often take them back to the hives. Even at doses so low that bees don’t immediately die, it affects their nervous systems.
They wander off and forget how to get back. They forget to get pollen for the hive. They stagger around and die. There have been some 15 scientific papers documenting the sub-lethal effects of neonics, including navigation and memory problems that eventually cause bee death. It isn’t the only factor causing the tragic colony collapse syndrome that has led to a huge worldwide decline in bee populations, including the loss of half the honeybees in the U.S. during the last year alone. But it is pretty clearly one of the causes, which is why the European Union has just banned all neonic use for the next two years, attempting to see if removing this fatal factor will be enough to restore their bee population.
It is complete folly to spray this stuff on flowers, on flowering trees like lindens (basswood) as well as on plants around the base of trees. So “soil drenches” are pretty directly dangerous. Tree injections are a bit less so, especially on seedless ash trees like those we have planted on our boulevards. But some 100 insects depend on the ash trees for food, including honeybees in the early spring. The neonics don’t just kill bees; they also kill butterflies, woodpeckers, and hummingbirds directly, and a host of other birds that starve to death when we kill off their insect food supply.
A third of our human food is pollinated by insects. Without the pollinators, we would not have most fruits and many vegetables. It is not the slightest exaggeration to say that a die-off of pollinators also foretells a human die-off as well. With a world population of 7 billion, predicted to increase to 9 billion in a few years, many already hungry, it is hard to imagine that everyone will have enough to survive with a third less food. So honeybees are the canaries in our mine.
This is a lot of doom and gloom, as my wife would say, but there is actually quite a lot that you can do to save our pollinators, to save ourselves.
First, don’t “treat” that ash tree with any systemic insecticide. I’m truly sorry, but that tree is going to die. There is no good that can come from killing pollinators in the process. It is legal to treat the trees if you use a registered pesticide company; that’s state law, so far. It is even legal to “treat” a boulevard ash tree at this point, although you must have the company notify the parks department. But don’t. Just don’t, if you like bees and butterflies and hummingbirds, or even if you just like to eat.
Second, call your parks commissioner and ask that they change policy regarding insecticide use on public land. They are already doing a great job in a difficult situation, removing park ash trees as soon as they can and replacing them with other tree species. But we really should not allow systemic pesticide treatment on boulevard ash trees either. The Minneapolis parks commissioners have pretty full control over boulevard trees, so they can stop insecticide use for EAB there at any point they want. Call 3-1-1 and get your parks commissioner’s number and give them a call. I can tell you with complete certainty that they would rather respond to you as a citizen than respond to pressure from pesticide applicators who want to get your money for “treating” the tree.
Third, the State of Minnesota currently does not allow the City of Minneapolis to control pesticide application on private land, but that could change. Call your council member and ask them to put local control of pesticide use on the legislative lobbying shopping list. The entire state of New York has banned most of these systemic pesticides for non-agricultural use and Minneapolis could also, if the state made local control legal. And if we can’t get an outright ban on use of these poisons, at least we could ask that spray information be made public, so we can know which neighbors we should be talking to. Again, call 3-1-1 for your City Council member’s name and number.
Fourth, inform yourself. Beez Kneez in the Seward neighborhood has a couple of movies coming up, with a bit of discussion. At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec.10, they will be showing the movie “More than Honey.” Also at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, they will be showing “The Vanishing of the Bees.” Both are at their wonderful little honey processing facility at 2204 Minnehaha Ave. Come in through the 22nd Street door, just left of Spokes.
Let’s see what we can do here. Wouldn’t it be great if we could create a little urban oasis for the pollinators, and maybe for ourselves as well?© 2013 Southside Pride
When the Seward Co-op moved into its new space on Franklin in January of 2009, it was expecting that in five years sales would be at $20 million. Not yet at the five year mark, it has far surpassed that projection with sales at $30.5 million. It’s not just sales that have exceeded expectations for the Co-op. The number of owner has more than doubled since 2009, from 4,500 to 11,500.MORE »
When the Seward Co-op moved into its new space on Franklin in January of 2009, it was expecting that in five years sales would be at $20 million. Not yet at the five year mark, it has far surpassed that projection with sales at $30.5 million. It’s not just sales that have exceeded expectations for the Co-op. The number of owner has more than doubled since 2009, from 4,500 to 11,500.
Co-op at Capacity
This exponential growth has tested the limits of the Co-op’s current production capabilities in the bakery and meat department and has placed office space and meeting rooms at a premium. It’s these cramped quarters that sent leadership in search of a second location that would provide much-needed space. Sean Doyle, the Co-op’s general manager explained that they had looked at several locations in the neighborhood – a foreclosed house behind the co-op and the space that used to house Filmzilla – but it wasn’t until he talked with Eddie Landenberger from Redesign that the idea of moving into the former Franklin Creamery building on 26th and Franklin Ave became a possibility.
This article is reposted from TCDP media partner My Broadsheet. Check out the links below for other recent My Broadsheet stories:
The Franklin Creamery
The space had previously been leased by Desiring God, a Christian publisher, and was slated to become an outpatient addiction clinic. Landenberger felt the Co-op would be a good fit for the space because of the Co-op’s financial stability and its willingness to invest in the space. The Co-op liked the building for its significant square footage (12,000 sq ft), which would provide enough room for offices, meeting rooms, and a production kitchen.
The building seems like a natural fit – it was originally built for the Franklin Co-operative Creamery Association, a highly successful dairy cooperative that first organized in 1919. Like the Co-op, the Creamery was a nationally respected cooperative and was used as the “show place in the Cooperative movement,” according to research by Steven Keillor on the Creamery.
Right: 1942 Franklin Creamery price list (From the personal collection of Dick Westby, Minneapolis, Minn.)
Despite its solid construction, maintenance to the building had been deferred, and the Co-op plans to invest a significant amount of money into the space to bring up to date. “Quite a bit of improvement needs to happen to the building,” commented Doyle. “It needs a new roof, new windows, a new elevator. In terms of making it a building that is operating at the high standards that we want.” Because of the significant investment the Co-op would make in the building, it was able to negotiate a lease that would provide it with the option to purchase the space in seven years.
The Seward Co-op still needs to go through the city and neighborhood approvals process before work can begin, but feedback they have received from owners and board members has been positive. Doyle noted, “At the annual meeting, it [the Creamery lease] seemed to be really well received. They [owners] would love to see the building be purposed in a way that serves the community more effectively.”
In the past, the space had been closed off to passersby. As plans progress and construction begins, expect to see the building become more open and welcoming with better street-level design.
If you like My Broadsheet, help us spread the word and tell your neighbors and friends. Don’t forget you can get these stories and more on Facebook.
- E-DEMOCRACY | Prices at the Seward Coop (Multiple authors, 2013)
- Seward Co-op plans for second store run into questions of race, class and food justice (LaDonna Redmond, 2013)
- Friendship Co-op proposal: Opportunity for community or one more white space? (LaDonna Redmond, 2013)
- African Americans in the Twin Cities co-op movement (LaDonna Redmond, 2013)
- Historical background of African American cooperatives (LaDonna Redmond, 2013)
- Community residents want to be heard, not 'saved' by new Seward Co-op in South Minneapolis (Alexa Horwart, 2013)
There’s a chill in the air and a light snow is falling—it’s perfect weather for the Seward Winter Frolic: Art in the ‘hood festival. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, December 7th from 10 am–5 pm and Sunday, December 8th from 12 pm–5 pm.MORE »
There’s a chill in the air and a light snow is falling—it’s perfect weather for the Seward Winter Frolic: Art in the ‘hood festival. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, December 7th from 10 am–5 pm and Sunday, December 8th from 12 pm–5 pm.
What began fourteen years ago as the Seward Art Crawl has blossomed into a seasonal celebration that’s well worth the effort to bundle up and venture out into the cold. In its present incarnation, neighborhood artists open the doors to their homes and studios for one of the best art crawls in the city, while many local businesses feature live music, serve up hot apple cider, and offer seasonal specials and activities. Festive, relaxed, homespun, and locally made, the Winter Frolic is holiday shopping at its very best.
Friday Events: Kick-off Benefit
A complete line up of weekend fun begins Friday, December 6th with the Seward Neighborhood Group’s Kick-off Benefit, held at the Playwrights’ Center from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. The event showcases the work of local performance artists, including live music and readings from Patricia Cumbie, Tara Innmon, John Coy, and Julia Klatt Singer. Neighborhood restaurants will dish up a sampling of culinary delights, while the Town Hall Brewery provides beer and wine. Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple, and include entertainment, food, and drink. Proceeds support the great work of the Seward Neighborhood Group.
This article is reposted from TCDP media partner My Broadsheet. Check out the links below for other recent My Broadsheet stories:
Saturday Events: Sculpture Unveiling, Art Car Parade, Lighting Ceremony
On Saturday, December 7, don’t miss the unveiling of the Seward Gateway Sculpture at 10:00 am at Fire Station #7, an event sponsored by Articulture, Seward Neighborhood Group, and Seward Redesign. For the past three months, a group of teen artists have been working on the glass mosaic sculpture, which is a response to the question, “What is our collective understanding of home and community?”
The very act of working together to create the sculpture provides one of the answers. Articulture’s Deborah Ervin explains, “We’ve worked with teens on each of our public projects, and watching the teens grow and develop through the act of collaboration is awe-inspiring. This group was smaller than the groups we’ve assembled for the murals, so everyone was able to get to know each other much better as a result. That kind of connectivity is at the heart of community projects like this.”
After the unveiling, at 10:30 am, the ever-popular Art Car Parade will depart from the fire station and roll east down Franklin Avenue toward the future home of the Chef Shack at 31st Street. A band organ will lead this year’s parade of fifteen art cars, with a fleet of decorated bikes bringing up the end. (Note: Bicyclists are invited to gather at Articulture from 4-6:30 pm on Friday evening to deck out their bikes for the parade.)
The rest of the day is yours to explore artist’s studios, get your hands dirty at a Northern Clay Center workshop, or stop by the Seward Co-op for live music and holiday shopping. To make getting around a little easier, two pedicabs will be cruising the neighborhood, providing free rides to all art crawl destinations.
At 5 pm on Saturday evening, be sure to wander over to Triangle Park at 26th and Franklin to watch the holiday lighting ceremony. Grab a warm cup of chai, provided by Verdant Tea, and cozy up by the fire while you enjoy the fire juggling show and live music.
Sunday Events: Art Crawl & Pedicabs
Check out the art and businesses that you weren’t able to get to on Saturday. Businesses will once again be offering specials throughout the day, and artists will be displaying their work. Be sure to see the map (link below) for all of the artist stops.
Catch a free pedicab to zip around Seward and get a glimpse of the neighborhood from a different perspective.
- To see a complete schedule of events and download a map, go to http://sewardarts.org/2013/10/14/get-the-brochure-get-the-map-2/
- Seward Winter Frolic Website.
About Kari Cornell
Kari Cornell is a freelance writer and editor who has lived in the Longfellow Neighborhood since 1996. She’s a huge fan of vintage collectibles, good food, tinkering in the garden, and making something clever out of nothing. Cornell is the co-author of Growing with Purpose: Forty Years of Seward Community Cooperative and has written a number of cookbooks for kids.
If you like My Broadsheet, help us spread the word and tell your neighbors and friends. Don’t forget you can get these stories and more on Facebook.© 2013 My Broadsheet 2013 Seward Winter Frolic: Art in the 'hood!
Technical, clerical and health care workers’ unions at the University of Minnesota have approved contracts accepting cost increases to the employee health insurance program after more than four months of vocal opposition to the hikes.MORE »
Technical, clerical and health care workers’ unions at the University of Minnesota have approved contracts accepting cost increases to the employee health insurance program after more than four months of vocal opposition to the hikes.
A Board of Regents committee will review the contracts Dec. 12, which include a 3 percent raise for most union members. If passed, the contracts will face the full board the next day.
University officials couldn’t comment on the union contracts because the regents haven’t approved them.
The Office of Human Resources announced in a July email that it was making changes to the UPlan, the employee health care program, including adding a deductible and increasing copays for primary and specialty care. The email said the cost increases were necessary to help the University avoid a $48 million excise tax in 2018.
Beginning that year, the Affordable Care Act will put an excise tax on “high-value” insurance plans to discourage consumers from overusing the benefits on these plans.
To assess whether the cost increases will put the value of the UPlan at the right level to avoid a tax, the University needs to implement the changes as early as 2014, the July email said.
Although cost increases aren’t ideal, faculty members generally accept the UPlan changes, said law professor Fred Morrison.
“I think there is an understanding among many faculty that they will be necessary,” he said. “But they are unfortunate.”
The annual open enrollment period, when UPlan members can adjust their health insurance plans, ended Monday, according to OHR.
Some union members likely took advantage of that time to find the most inexpensive insurance plan possible, said Cherrene Horazuk, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees chapter of University clerical workers.
She said people have told her they were looking at the lower-cost, smaller-network Accountable Care Organization plan, commonly known as an ACO, which the University is offering for the first time in 2014.
“I know that people were very concerned about the costs overall,” Horazuk said.
Sliding scale set aside
Three local AFSCME chapters held a rally in opposition to UPlan cost increases and in support of a sliding scale model for health insurance premiums in September. Under a sliding scale model, employees would pay premiums tied to their salaries.
“It’s an equitable way of distributing the costs,” said Barbara Bezat, president of the AFSCME chapter of University technical workers.
But after repeated attempts at discussing the sliding scale proposal with the University, union leaders said, the recently approved contracts don’t include the model.
“The University was unwilling to negotiate sliding scale,” Horazuk said. “We’re going to continue to advocate for a sliding scale health care plan.”
AFSCME tried to discuss a sliding scale model during direct bargaining with the University and during meetings of the Benefits Advisory Committee this fall, Horazuk said. She said the unions first proposed the idea during the summer.
The BAC is a group of faculty, staff and retired employees that deals with benefit issues for non-union University employees.
Morrison, a committee member, said AFSCME members passed out fliers with information on the sliding scale model at BAC meetings — but they didn’t raise the issue with enough time to actually implement it if the University accepted it.
He said a project like a sliding scale premium system would require extensive planning before implementation.
“It needs to be raised much earlier,” he said.© 2013 The Minnesota Daily
The County is planning on restoring the landscaping on Hiawatha Avenue between 32nd Street and 46th Street. Tonight will be the first of two open houses where residents are invited to view the plans, ask questions, and provide comments.MORE »
The County is planning on restoring the landscaping on Hiawatha Avenue between 32nd Street and 46th Street. Tonight will be the first of two open houses where residents are invited to view the plans, ask questions, and provide comments.
Robb Luckow from Housing, Community Works, & Transit explained on the Hennepin County website the reason for the new plantings, “The landscaping along Hiawatha Avenue is showing its age. The trees are in poor condition and provide inadequate tree cover. The corridor welcomes travelers to Minneapolis, yet lacks aesthetic appeal.”
The County is working with consultants from LHB to develop the restoration plan, conduct soil testing, identify plants and trees best suited for the roadway, and develop a planting scheme.
The landscaping plan is expected to be completed in early 2014. Planting could begin in spring or summer, depending on funding.
There will be two open houses where you can learn more about current plans:
- Wednesday, Dec. 4, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Corcoran Park Recreation Center, 3334 – 20th Ave. S. in Minneapolis.
- Monday, Dec. 9, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Hiawatha School Park Recreation Center, 4305 East 42nd St. in Minneapolis.
In the world of minis, there are close encounters with bugs that seem prehistoric, adventures in far off places, and seemingly impossible tasks – like milking a cow. Photographer Kurt Moses and his wife, Edwige, began documenting the life of minis several years ago on their site Un Petite Monde (A Small World). But it wasn’t until Moses shared his photos with Longfellow resident and graphic designer Kelly McManus that the idea for the book Welcome to the Small World: A Book of Big Surprises! was born. McManus wrote little stories for each of the images and compiled them all into a book.MORE »
In the world of minis, there are close encounters with bugs that seem prehistoric, adventures in far off places, and seemingly impossible tasks – like milking a cow. Photographer Kurt Moses and his wife, Edwige, began documenting the life of minis several years ago on their site Un Petite Monde (A Small World). But it wasn’t until Moses shared his photos with Longfellow resident and graphic designer Kelly McManus that the idea for the book Welcome to the Small World: A Book of Big Surprises! was born. McManus wrote little stories for each of the images and compiled them all into a book.
The three brought the book to Kickstarter where it has received overwhelming success. Currently, they have 15 days remaining to receive funds, and they have already surpassed their goal. With new stretch funding goals set, they hope to add more pages to the book, increase the print run, and create an eBook.
Q&A with Kurt, Edwige, & Kelly
We had the chance to ask the team a few questions about the process – from photographing minis to writing compelling storylines. The Q&A is below:
MB: Kurt, on your website Un Petit Monde, you comment that your inspiration for your photography stems from how you view view life and the world around you. Can you talk a little bit about what you mean by that?
Kurt: Photographing the miniatures is a way for me to express my beliefs, ideas, thoughts, and feelings. For example, the puddle monster scene with the crab has the miniature figure raising his oar/paddle in self defense but he doesn’t appear to be all that concerned. He may be up against something powerful and threatening but he feels confident he’ll overcome. Some scenes are less charged and more about being at peace or being content with life. I see life full of challenges and obstacles, yet beautiful at the same time. If I’m successful with my photography, it will convey these ideas and feelings.
This article is reposted from TCDP media partner My Broadsheet. Check out the links below for other recent My Broadsheet stories:
- Translating Legend & Lore Into Books for Children
- Seward Winter Frolic: Lighting Up the Weekend with Art and Fire
MB: How do you pick your locations for the photo shoots? Do you have a good idea of the image you want to capture before you get there, or do you wait for inspiration to hit once you arrive on the scene?
Edwige: Kurt and I choose locations that are intriguing or meaningful to us in some way. We like to spend time together in quiet, beautiful, often historically relevant places. We love the MN North Shore, we are drawn to Route 66 and its significance, and we think that the Southwest is a gorgeous backdrop for the miniatures. We are also sometimes presented with great opportunities, like our photo shoot in Hawaii. We are always in the process of planning a trip for the miniatures. Depending on the location Kurt has more or less an idea of the image he wants to capture. I would say that the farther the destination and the more research and thought goes into each scene. When Kurt and I take a walk in our nearby State Parks, he will have a handful of preselected minis that he thinks will come in handy and will photograph them as we explore. On extended trips, the locations and the scenes are more studied.
MB: Kurt, I read that you shoot with available light and don’t do much to change variables like weather, people, bugs. Some of your images have bugs or animals as one of the subjects. Is this interaction with bug/animal and mini serendipitous or a planned encounter?
Kurt: Completely by chance! I may look for insects and small animals to interact with, but often they don’t turn out to be what I had intended. I like to think of it as photojournalism: you might be called to document a house fire but that doesn’t mean you’ll end up photographing the red fire engine spraying water on bright orange flames, instead you may be documenting steam rising from smoldering ashes. Although I have an idea I’d like to convey through my work, the environment and unknown variables may change whatever preconceived ideas I had.
MB: Can you talk a little bit about the collaboration process for developing the stories that accompany the images?
Kelly: I feel like I get the best part — the “looking through the Christmas catalog in pajamas by the fireplace” part — which is getting a first peek at the just-sent treasure trove of images Kurt just finished shooting, getting to pick my favorites, all the while imagining different story lines. The story’s essence is already there, I just pull a bigger story from it — make it spark, add a little additional magic. What’s been fun in the collaboration process is when Kurt says things like “I had no idea that story was in there.”
Kurt: I love that the stories come solely from how Kelly interprets my photography! I wouldn’t want anyone to dictate how I photograph something so personal as my images, and I don’t want to influence Kelly’s interpretation of what she sees in them.
Kelly: Yes, I think we collaborate well, because we’ve known each other for so long; there’s a trust in each other’s talents that is implicit. So I don’t fuss with the image concepts (Ok, full disclosure: I’ve totally tried to noodle and he’s always right — my ideas never work!), and he leaves the stories to me. We’re a good team together. From there, I selected about 70 images, and then started developing the stories. For me, it’s about discovering how a kid would interpret the scenes. Or I might decide what kind of contrary or ironic adventure is happening. From there it usually flows. All in all, we’ve landed on about 20 final images for the book.
MB: What has been the most challenging part of the project?
Kurt: My style of shooting has evolved since starting this project and you can see the progression when comparing the newer and older work side by side. I would say it has been a challenge to stay consistent with how I present my thoughts and ideas while I adapt to different lenses and camera gear.
Kelly: I’ve had my fair share of challenges developing the book, typical of any creative process: doubt, procrastination, life, distraction, fear of rejection, etc.
MB: Why did you decided to go with a Kickstarter campaign instead of going through the traditional publication route?
Kelly: We tried pitching it via the traditional publishing route, and we were told that it’s too unconventional of a kids book for agents to sell because the narrative doesn’t follow a traditional story arc (start with a problem, end with a solution.) But what we found over and over again was that when kids read the book the “industry standards in storytelling” fell to the wayside. When presented with these magical, up-close, fairy-tale-like photos they were mesmerized and the small stories in each vignette enhanced that for them. It was the same experience with adults.
So my decision to do a Kickstarter campaign was a way to put all the cards on the table … a way to lay it all out and say “Here is our idea. Help us get this printed.” My greatest delight is not only seeing family and friends as backers, but to see backers from the UK to Brooklyn, and everywhere in between. People we don’t know, all saying “Yes!” How fun is that?
- Help fund the book’s Kickstarter campaign on the Small World Kickstarter page.
- Visit Kurt and Edwige’s website Un Petit Monde.
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I knew when I was preparing to interview DJ Chuck Chizzle I’d need to block off a large amount of time.MORE »
I knew when I was preparing to interview DJ Chuck Chizzle I’d need to block off a large amount of time.
See, I’m a music head and I can talk music all day, but Chuck, the mix DJ for KMOJ’s Moyning Show, is a true music head and he can (and does) talk music all day. But as they say, he gets it honest.
Chuck Chizzle, 37, born Charles Doughty, Sr., is a second generation disc jockey (his father, Charles Bell, spun under the moniker Chuck Chillout, and chizzle is urban slang for chill), his uncle, William Doughty, was with Flyte Tyme and Graham Central Station and his great uncle played with Duke Ellington and Count Basie.
“Music is all I’ve ever talked about – DJing is my love,” said Chizzle. “I’ve lost girlfriends, I’ve been homeless – all to follow my dreams (of being a disc jockey). I’d spend most of my paychecks on buying records. If I had a choice of paying my phone bill or buying the last couple 12-inch (records) I needed then I wasn’t paying my phone bill.”
One particular story Chuck told me drove his point home, as Chuck explained how he chose music over food.
This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Insight News. Check out the links below for other recent Insight News stories:
“I had a girlfriend and at the time she saw I didn’t have any money and she gave me some money and said, ‘and don’t you spend it on no damn records,’” said the dedicated DJ. “Sure enough I got a call about a Mos Def, Hi Tek, Reflection Eternal import (a rare LP printed and pressed for overseas consumption) and of course, I spent that money on it.”
Thankfully for the DJ whose mixes air weekday mornings on the Twin Cities’ only urban format station, choices such as that don’t have to be made anymore.
Chuck said his early years of spinning were more than adventurous. His first DJ gig was at an after hours biker spot and his equipment was less than desirable.
“I rocked off of two cassette tape decks. I had to be all of 15 at the time. They wouldn’t let me leave the booth except in between each song I’d have to go out to the car I rode in to cue up the next tape,” said Chizzle. “But I rocked it – and I kept on rockin’ it. I can remember we used to ride the bus with about 10 people carrying records and crates to a gig – djing mostly for free.”
The hungry DJ from north Minneapolis soon earned a name for himself; and along with fellow Northsider, Dell Dilla, teamed with St. Paul DJ Big Reese to form the DJing crew Triple Threat. Triple Threat grew and the name changed to the now well-known Mashwell Brothas. Mashwell consists of Chuck, Dell, Reese, Levy Jones, Chris Styles, No Mic, Fund Raiser, DJ Roby One, DJ Intenz, Bianca “Cali” Lewis and Gifted Compositions. Lewis is Mashwell’s unofficial publicist and Gifted Compositions is a design company.
“But it’s all Mashwell. We’re a family,” said Chizzle.
While Chuck made his name as a club DJ, he’s gaining exposure daily, spinning on the Moyning Show with hosts Lisa Moy and Shed G.
“I gotta big up Lisa and Shed for giving me an opportunity,” said Chuck, who is on his second stint with KMOJ and who was with B-96 (KTWN-FM) before it moved away from an urban/hip-hop format. “People like what I’m doing (on air). I try to do something different each time and have some fun with it. When you’re spinning your music you’re putting your personal stamp on it.”
Aside from daily mixes on the radio, fans can catch Chuck at Hunan Garden on Saturdays in St. Paul, 380 Cedar St., and at various other events and venues.
Chuck and I talked music for nearly an hour about everything from the state of today’s hip-hop, to how DJing has evolved from records to CDs to Serato (the DJ program that eliminated the need to carry crates of records and created seemingly thousands of DJs overnight), to DJ pet peeves and beyond.
His passion flowed with every word he uttered. After a while the talk morphed out of an interview into two music heads choppin’ it up about the subject they both love. But abruptly the discussion had to end. It was late in the evening and Chuck was eager to start working on his latest mix.
Photo: Chuck Chizzle (By Harry Colbert, Jr.)© 2013 Insight News
Nuclear Regulatory Commission "Waste Confidence" public meeting December 4.
Minnetonka, MinnesotaMORE »
Nuclear Regulatory Commission "Waste Confidence" public meeting December 4.
Minneapolis Marriott Southwest
5801 Opus Parkway
Minnetonka, MN 55343
6:00-7:00 p.m. CST
7:00-10:00 p.m. CST
This meeting (it is not a formal public hearing) was originally scheduled for October 17th but postponed due to the federal government "shutdown." Previous meetings have had a three-minute time limit for speakers. "NRC staff will not be available to answer questions related to the proposed rule or DGEIS during the formal meeting." (But they will at the Open House.)
The story behind this is a little convoluted. As the Nuclear Information Resource Service (NIRS) describes it:
"Since the summer of 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been unable to issue licenses for new reactors, nor renewals for existing licenses. A federal court threw out the underpinning of the agency's radioactive waste policy--its "waste confidence" rule. That rule had stated that the NRC was confident that high-level radioactive waste always would be stored or disposed safely, and thus could continue to be generated.
But the court found that with the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site effectively cancelled and no alternative in place, the NRC could not be "confident" of permanent disposal. Moreover, the court ruled that the NRC had no technical basis for asserting that current on-site storage practices in fuel pools and dry casks would be safe for the indefinite future. This ruling forced the current moratorium on licensing
The NRC has now prepared a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) as part of the process of replacing its "waste confidence" rule and it hopes to finalize this document and resume licensing during 2014. In the Fall of 2013, the agency will hold 12 public meetings around the country to explain and receive comment on this document.
These meetings are our opportunity to point out the technical shortcomings in this new document, and to call for making the licensing moratorium permanent. There will be protests and public involvement at each one of these meetings. We hope you will join us."
See also "D.C. Circuit Vacates NRC's Waste Confidence Decision."
Kristen Eide-Tollefson says:
"This is an unprecedented opportunity to comment on the "waste confidence" decision. WE NEED TURNOUT FOR THE MINNESOTA NRC PUBLIC HEARING on NUCLEAR WASTE -- December 4th!
The "Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision" was created in response to Minnesota's resistance to the building of the Monticello Plant. Minnesota said (Chuck Dayton was involved) that they would not allow the plant to be built without federal assurance of central storage for the nuclear waste. Because the federal government could not assure this, they created a regulatory fiction.
This fiction is called the "Nuclear Waste Confidence Decision". It has allowed the NRC to continue to permit plants, and extend storage at reactor sites using a 'generic' EIS determination of "no impacts", based upon the agencies "confidence" that storage will be available when it is needed! This dangerous and irrational regulatory presumption has been allowed to prevail --as the 'back stop'-- in dozens of licensing, re-licensing and nuclear waste storage proceedings."
NRC materials for the Minnetonka meeting are posted here, including posters and a Power Point.
Many more documents are here .
The GEIS is 575 +/- pages and contains many strange and indefensible statements and conclusions. Here is the link: http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1322/ML13224A106.pdf
Here's an example:
Severe Accidents in Spent Fuel Pools. Probability-weighted impacts would be SMALL. A spent
fuel pool may encounter severe events, such as loss of offsite power or beyond design basis
earthquakes. Although it is theoretically 1 possible that these events may lead to loss of spent
fuel pool cooling function resulting in spent fuel pool fire, the likelihood of such events is
extremely small [emphasis added]. Additional discussion about spent fuel pool fires can be found in Appendix F.
Of course, this is what actually happened in Japan at the Fukushima reactors, which are of very similar design to the Xcel Energy Monticello reactor.
The federal government has never been able to open a waste dump, so wastes have been piling up at nuclear plant sides ever since the plants opened: 1971 for the Monticello reactor and 1973 for the two Prairie Island (Red Wing) reactors.
This is the point of the "waste confidence" rule: To pretend that something impossible, safe management of spent nuclear fuel, will eventually happen in some magical fashion. Therefore it is logical to extend the operating lives of existing nukes and build new ones.
The City of Red Wing, to its credit, has submitted comments--two sets making up 17 pages. (I say "to it's credit" because many nuke facility host communities behave as echo chambers for the facility owners.) Some excerpts:
"It is anticipated that at the end of the life of the PINGP [Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant] which is currently scheduled in 2033 and 2034 ... there will be approximately ninety-nine (99) casks located [at the storage site in Red Wing]. This does not include any casks or other storage systems for other classes of waste originating from the decommissioning of the PINGP."
"... the City, like many other host communities, is now facing a scenario that it did not, under any set of circumstances, envision; the failure of the Federal Government to honor its contractual agreement with the Company [Xcel Energy] and remove the spent fuel ... The City stands resolute with the Company that the continued storage of spent fuel outside of the PINGP is not a workable solution. With no plan or process in place for its removal, storage, which was to be short (if at all) has become, for all practical purposes, permanent."
"The City, in all respects, is a first responder to any incident ... It is obligated, under both federal and state law, to annually provide reasonable assurance that it has the necessary facilities and infrastructure to meet and respond to any incident ... The City, then, is obligated to maintain a steady state of readiness ... it has and continues to do so despite the continued reduction of revenue to the City from the Company for taxes on the PINGP. The City, in turn, has been forced to shift the burden to its other taxpayers, who, since 1996, have seen their property taxes increase over 1885."
"...the EA [Environmental Assessment for the Red Wing nuke waste storage site, otherwise ISFSI] must assume and analyze three different scenarios: (1) removal of the spent fuel at fifty years after decommissioning of the PINGP; (2) removal of spent fuel after 100 years ... and (3) a no-build scenario [=leave it there forever]."
"...there is a likelihood that there will be flooding of the ISFIS upon certain peak levels of the Mississippi River."
"The EA should identify all potential incidents that could occur that would have an impact, material or otherwise, on the safety and integrity of continued spent fuel storage. These incidents should include not only natural incidents such as flooding, lighting [sic], tornados, and other such natural disasters, but also manmade disasters such as accidents and intentional acts, including acts of terror."
"The only actual, and logical, growth pattern for the City, especially it's business and manufacturing district, is to the north. This expansion is directly where the spent fuel is located and its continued presence will disrupt and stunt the City's growth. This should be evaluated."
"The EA should analyze and include any lessons from the Fukushima incident. These lessons should include, but not be limited to, the necessity for an effective emergency response, the impact if a similar incident occurred at the PINGP ..."
"The appropriate timeframe, then, is not the cessation of activities at the nuclear power plant but rather is the time spent fuel actually sits in the casks or other storage containers ... So, for example, with casking at the PINGP beginning in 1994, the fifty year mark will be 2044, which is less than ten years after the PINGP is scheduled to be decommissioned. The spent fuel pool will still be used at this time ... Under the scenario proposed by the Commission, an examination of the casks for the PINGP would not occur until they are almost ninety (90) years old ...."
"... in the event of an incident at the ISFSI, the impact would be not simply local but nationally as the waters of the Mississippi would be impacted downstream."
"How is there going to be sufficient revenue to manage spent fuel storage systems when the plant shuts down and the ratepayers are no longer receiving the benefit of electricity being produced through nuclear energy? The cost, then, of continued storage, maintenance, transfer, and ultimate disposition may fall on ratepayers or citizens of the state that did not have a stake at all when the spent fuel was being generated ... the spent fuel must be safely and securely stored for centuries ...."
"A core concept of the EIS is compliance with NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act]. To do so, the EIS must take into account the effect that continued storage will have on the natural environment as well as what this impact would be in the event of an incident. The EIS should evaluate the cumulative effect of continues storage which would include but not be limited to the total natural release of radiation ... and the impact in the event that there is a release."
"The spend fuel, which was never intended to be stored at the PINGP, is not stranded within the City limits indefinitely.... The City believes that one of these public meetings should be held in or near the City."
So there we have it: The City of Red Wing is stuck with a permanent, above ground, high-level nuclear waste dump within the city limits, in the effective flood plain of the Mississippi River.
There are over one hundred other operating and dead reactors in the US, many with similar situations.
The NRC seems to be saying it has no intention of doing site specific environmental review of waste storage sites. "The environmental impacts of continued storage are generically addressed and will not be revisited in future site-specific
licensing proceedings." Too much trouble; too expensive. In other words, this "generic" proceeding is it, folks.
The lawsuit that brought this GEIS proceeding to life came from Attorney General of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman. In an Oct 30, 2013 press release, Schneiderman says this about the GEIS:
"Attorney General Schneiderman led the successful challenge in 2012 to the Temporary Storage Rule because he believes that communities that serve as de facto long-term nuclear waste repositories deserve a full and detailed accounting of the environmental, public health, and safety risks. Unfortunately, he believes that the Waste Confidence DGEIS, as presented, fails to provide such a full and detailed accounting, and therefore, fails our communities. Attorney General Schneiderman looks forward to the Commission addressing the draft�s deficiencies in this ongoing rule making process."
So there is a lot at stake here on many levels, locally, statewide, nationally, and globally--as Fukushima has shown us most recently.
Actions to take:
Turn up at the hearing and comment.
The public comment period ends on Friday, December 20, 2013. E-mail comments to NRC: Rulemaking [dot] Comments [at] nrc [dot] gov (Rulemaking.Comments@) nrcRulemaking [dot] Comments [at] nrc [dot] gov (.gov). Remember to include Docket ID NRC-2012-0246 in the subject line of written comments.
(For other ways to submit comments see "How to Comment on the Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Rule.")
Useful talking points from NIRS .
Permanent shutdown of Vermont Yankee nuke plant announced�Monticello should be next.
A key point is that the present moratorium on nuclear licensing should stay in place until credible answers and policies are in place for long term management of spent fuel.
Reactivated Black Faculty and Staff Association hopes to provide University of Minnesota Black employees needed support
When Alysia Lajune was hired last year by the University of Minnesota after working a dozen-plus years in such places as Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C., the notion that an organized Black faculty and staff group didn’t exist “shocked” her.MORE »
When Alysia Lajune was hired last year by the University of Minnesota after working a dozen-plus years in such places as Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C., the notion that an organized Black faculty and staff group didn’t exist “shocked” her.
“This is exactly the type of institution — a larger, predominately White institution” — that very much needs such a group, believes Lajune, who later learned from longtime university Black employees that one had existed over two decades ago.
“The biggest issue then was [that Black] faculty felt like the organization was not meeting their unique needs, specific needs and concerns, and challenges,” she discovered.
“And [Black] employees felt like faculty were being elitist and didn’t want to be involved with them,” she continued. “It became an issue of ‘We do our own thing and you guys do your own thing,’ but no real togetherness.”
Not discouraged, Lajune, who is the assistant to Vice-President of Equity and Diversity Dr. Katrice Albert, instead sought to reactivate the Black Faculty and Staff Association (BFSA). “It was helpful for me to have the information to know what kind of things we can discuss to bring us all together on one accord,” Lajune said.
Now in place since last spring, Lajune pointed out how crucial it is that the U of M BFSA be inclusive across all departments and include Black faculty, professional staff, and service employees.
“Our numbers are too small to alienate people. We need African people, Haitians, bi-racial people — we need all of us,” she stated, adding that holding small monthly gatherings, even during the day, offers Black faculty and staff a chance “[to] let our hair down. We don’t have to worry about being watched or scrutinized, or being studied, having to educate and inform [when asked,] ‘Why do Black people do…?’ We all get that, and we get tired of that.”
The BFSA’s goals include increasing recruitment and retention of Black employees, holding annual events, and having a table at new-employee orientation sessions. “I remember coming to my orientation in April of last year and not seeing anybody Black in my entire orientation. Now, when a Black person comes to new-employee orientation, they will have met at least one [Black person] and be welcomed into our community,” said Lajune, the group’s president and U of M assistant orientation and first-year programs director.
A survey was sent out to the university’s Black employees through the school’s human resources department, explained Lajune: “Our last email in late August or early September was [sent to] 878 [employees], but we only got 150 responses.” Still in the process of compiling the data, Lajune reports, “Most of the responses that we got…we saw very heavy on “neither agree or disagree” and “I like it.” But when we went to the comments, which are open-ended questions, we read a lot about negative feelings.”
She suspects that despite instructions to Black employees that they didn’t have to indicate what department they currently are employed in on the survey, many respondents were guarded in their responses.
“Even though it was the Black Faculty and Staff Association doing [the survey] and only me and the [group] vice-president have access to the results, it really raised the question of why are people not apt to say ‘I disagree’ [on questions],” she pointed out. Nonetheless, the open-ended comments section gave a totally different picture as respondents expressed “they don’t belong” sentiments.
“One of the issues we keep hearing…even in causal get-togethers is the pressure of being the only one in their unit,” Lajune explained. “Sometimes they’re the only Black person or African American person, or sometimes they’re the only person of color. But even when there’s another person of color who’s not Black, the Black person in the unit feels sometimes like they are not included.”
Some Black faculty and staff at the university often find themselves treated in an “overly inclusive [manner] that doesn’t seem genuine” added Lajune. “People being nice [because] ‘I’m Black and they are trying to make me feel comfortable, but [they] overdo it.’ I think a lot of times it’s that feeling of not having a voice or their voice not carrying the [same] kind of weight.
“We’ve heard incidents where people would be in a staff meeting and they come up with an idea, and it’s not well received,” continued Lajune. “As the conversation continues to unfold, someone else will re-present the same idea but in a different way, [and] then suddenly it’s the best idea.
“I worked in [another university department] where I was the only Black person, but I really didn’t have these feelings,” she recalled. “But I do recall having that feeling of all day you kind of [being] on [guard] — you want to watch how you carry yourself because you don’t want to feed into any stereotypes.
“You don’t want people to get the wrong impression of Black people, because you come across people that if it weren’t [for] working with you, they wouldn’t have any exposure to the [Black] community,” Lajune continued. “So you want to be careful…and that could be pressure sometimes.”
When asked why a BFSA is needed at the University of Minnesota, Lajune responded that just like the school’s Black students, who also are comparably small in numbers at a largely White university, so is the number of Black faculty and staff, which in Lajune’s best estimates may total around 1,000.
“We’re in Minnesota. We’re not at Emory University in Atlanta where you might be the only one in your department but Atlanta is a predominately Black city where you have your outlets, your community and your neighborhood. But not so much here,” said Lajune. “We want to make sure people feel like they are connected to each other at work.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman [at] spokesman-recorder [dot] com.© 2013 Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center: A North Minneapolis 'gateway' to University of Minnesota education
Dr. Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, admits that he is aware of the Black community’s longtime skepticism toward the state’s land-grant university, an often strained relationship that did not improve when the university dropped the General College and made its “world-class” declaration in the late 1990s. A few years later, the opening of the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, otherwise known as UROC, on the city’s North Side in 2009 heightened suspicions among many Blacks.MORE »
Dr. Eric Kaler, president of the University of Minnesota, admits that he is aware of the Black community’s longtime skepticism toward the state’s land-grant university, an often strained relationship that did not improve when the university dropped the General College and made its “world-class” declaration in the late 1990s. A few years later, the opening of the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, otherwise known as UROC, on the city’s North Side in 2009 heightened suspicions among many Blacks.
As a result, the MSR during a 30-minute interview in his Morrill Hall office asked President Kaler to speak to our readers on the school’s overall commitment to diversity.
“We didn’t have a trusting relationship with the community,” said Kaler, who was named president in July 2011, regarding UROC. “There was a concern that we were going to work on the community rather than work with the community or actually work for the community.”
Kaler offered reassurance that the university is fully committed to diversity, citing as examples the hiring this year of Dr. Katrice Albert as diversity and equity vice president and Danita Brown Young as dean of students.
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“It’s incredibly important to me that we have a diverse university [and] that we have a real, genuine, deep engagement with communities of color — of all colors,” explained Kaler. “We have a host of people who are deeply committed to not only representing the Black community and the university, but also engaging the Black community. I view that engagement as part of my job as well.”
Albert interjected that among the reasons she accepted the offer to come to the U of M after seven years as chief diversity officer at LSU was the commitment Kaler refers to. However, after former Senior Vice President Robert Jones’ departure this year to be president of the University of Albany in New York and his office was eliminated in what school officials called a need “to shrink administrative expenses,” some community members questioned this commitment, especially to UROC, which was Jones’ brainchild and for which he had served as the guiding force.
“Robert invested a lot of his own personal capital in that, and I know that the history was not easy,” recalled Kaler. “There is no issue at all about the future of UROC or any thought at all about stepping away from our commitment to that facility and what that facility stands for.”
The university’s population of students of color has grown by about four percent from 2000, from 14 percent to just over 18 percent this year. Still, for many Black youngsters looking at colleges and universities to pursue their education, the “U” oftentimes isn’t at the top of their list. And if they do enroll, some often don’t feel comfortable or fully accepted there.
“I know what you have just told me is true,” responded Kaler. “I don’t completely understand why it’s true. In her interviewing process, Katrice and I had some of that conversation [as well]. Danita Brown Young [also] is aimed at improving that connection.
“We need to be a place where all our students want to come. We need them to realize that the University of Minnesota should be an aspiration for them. They should be aiming themselves to come to the University of Minnesota.”
Added Albert, “I want to help with access, especially [for] students of color, to come to the land-grant institution, to see it as their top college choice to get a world-class education. It’s really about a commitment to concentrating on the recruitment efforts of Minnesotans and especially students of color so that they see the ‘U’ as their top college choice from very early on.”
The university “needs to be creative” in recruiting Blacks and other students of color, advised Albert. She points to the “Joining a Legacy” program specifically designed to serve both currently enrolled Black students and prospective Black students. Recently, a group of local Black male youngsters visited the campus “so that they could see other Black men enjoying the ‘U’, excelling academically and encouraging them to consider the ‘U’ as their top college choice,” noted Albert.
“The Huntley House is an important part of that,” said Kaler of the campus dorm “designed to build community by exploring the shared experience of African American males in and out of the classroom” when it opened in 2012. He pointed out that 17 Black males are now living there, up from seven a year ago.
“The state of Minnesota deserves to have a world-class university,” stated Kaler. “That world-class university needs to be inclusive, diverse, and needs to be accessible. It needs to be inspirational for students to excel in grade school and high school so that they are ready to come to the university.
“I think UROC is an important part of that,” he said in reference to recruiting more local Blacks. “When you step in [the] UROC building in North Minneapolis, you are stepping onto the campus of the University of Minnesota. UROC can be a gateway to making those connections [in the Black community].”
As we resumed our discussion on organizational diversity, Kaler reiterated, “When [Blacks and other students of color] come to a big place like this, you want to see people who are like you and you need some role models. [With] Katrice’s arrival, and Danita’s arrival, you can say we doubled the number of high-ranking African Americans at the university. But it’s not about numbers, it’s about getting a population that looks like Minnesota. We need to create that welcoming environment for staff and for faculty.
“We hold diversity as one of the keys of our mission and a key part of who we are,” said Kaler. “You cannot have an excellent world-class university without having a diverse world-class university. It is essential to creativity [and] to everybody to understand what the world is about and to interact with people from different backgrounds, different cultures…
“We’re not there yet,” concluded the University of Minnesota president, “and I don’t fully know why. But we are working hard to figure that out. I hope this is not the last time we have this conversation.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman [at] spokesman-recorder [dot] com.© 2013 Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder
When Jamie Robinson started dating Amy Johnson five years ago, he shared his dream of opening a neighborhood brewpub. In the state of Minnesota, a brewpub is a small brewery that can sell its beer on the premises along with other beers and food, as opposed to a brewery, which can sell its own product on-site and also vend it to other sites. At the time, Amy was not planning to use her hospitality degree to open a restaurant, but she and Jamie decided to pursue this dream together.MORE »
When Jamie Robinson started dating Amy Johnson five years ago, he shared his dream of opening a neighborhood brewpub. In the state of Minnesota, a brewpub is a small brewery that can sell its beer on the premises along with other beers and food, as opposed to a brewery, which can sell its own product on-site and also vend it to other sites. At the time, Amy was not planning to use her hospitality degree to open a restaurant, but she and Jamie decided to pursue this dream together.
They spent eight months writing and rewriting a business proposal. When they took it to banks, both small local banks and larger institutions turned them down. Finally, a bank approved their loan, but only if they could first raise a quarter of a million dollars. So they approached potential big investors. Jamie says, “They all said, this is a beautiful proposal. Good luck with that.” At the same time, friends offered to invest a moderate amount. “I don’t know who finally said it out loud,” Amy says, but somehow the idea of dozens of small investors became a reality. Amy and Jamie offered free beer for life at the future brewpub to anyone who would invest $1,000. The rest is neighborhood history.
While they were searching for funding, Jamie and Amy were also looking for a space for their new business. At first they wanted to open near their home in St. Paul, but they soon found that space in St. Paul was far too expensive, and their attention turned to Minneapolis. Amy says there was never any question of going downtown or uptown. She and Jamie wanted to open the sort of neighborhood pub they enjoy going to, the local place where a community goes for “good people, good beer, and good food.” Jamie found a listing on Craigslist for a former furniture store in the Standish Neighborhood. The owner, Andy Root, was immediately excited by the idea of a brewpub in one of his buildings. He went with Jamie to a meeting of SENA’s Business, Development, and Transportation Committee. Jamie gave a short presentation and asked whether the committee thought the neighborhood would support a brewpub. The answer was resoundingly positive. Word spread throughout the neighborhood, investors started turning up, and the Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub opened in September 2012.
The Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub is probably best known for its beer. Jamie, as the brewer, likes to use traditional ingredients and add a twist. The four house beers—Big Jim (most popular), Light Rail Pale Ale, Honey Wheat Ale, and Smokehouse Porter— are always available. Two seasonal beers are usually also available. Some of these beers are repeated; some are available only once. This winter you can enjoy the snow series: Snowpocalypse (in December, a dry-hopped Scotch ale), Snowmaggedon ( January, Imperial Honey Brown Ale), and Snownami (Imperial Stout with raspberry and chocolate, just in time for Valentine’s Day). These beers are named because of their higher alcohol content, perfect for the cold winter months.
The food follows the theme of the restaurant. Just about everything is smoked on-site, from the grain for brewing to the eggs in the egg salad and all of the meat. The menu offers smoked wings, smokehouse chili, and smoked porketta. Amy admits the menu is a little meat heavy, but they make an effort to have vegetarian options, including the popular wild rice burger. They also emphasize local food and local sources, like their honey, which comes from Sorenson’s Honey Farm outside Owatonna.
Amy is amazed by the support from the neighborhood. Not only are the majority of their investors from the neighborhood but also the neighborhood continues to invest in Northbound in other ways. “People don’t just come and drink their beer and leave,” Amy says, “they tell their friends and coworkers, and they bring in their whole families.” The customers in the neighborhood have embraced the brewpub as their own, just as Jamie and Amy hoped they would.
The Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub is located at 2716 E. 38th St. (phone: 208-1450) and is open Sunday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Children are welcome until about 10:00 p.m., and while there is no children’s menu, child-friendly options are available. The patio is dog-friendly. You can find more information at www.northboundbrewpub.com.
Photo: Amy Johnson and Jamie Robinson© 2013 Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association
I am originally from Minneapolis, but have been living and working for a non-profit called Somos Hermanos in Guatemala for the past five years .MORE »
I am originally from Minneapolis, but have been living and working for a non-profit called Somos Hermanos in Guatemala for the past five years . This is the story of how my Guatemalan partner and I decided to apply for a tourist visa so he could travel to Minnesota and meet my family. Originally, this was an e-mail sent to all of our loved ones.
About a month ago Carlos surprised me and let me know that he intended on applying for a visa so he could join me on my visit to Minneapolis in a few weeks. I wanted to share our personal visa process with you because not only was it important to us personally, but also to show a perspective that is rarely available in regards getting legal permission to visit the country we live in.
We spent about 3 weeks gathering paper work in Quetzalteango, Guatemala so that we could fill out the online tourist visa application. This meant long lines at super slow and bureaucratic government offices, long lines at the bank, and lots of brainstorming of which documents would help Carlos' case. We had to prove that A) Carlos had the funds to go and B) he had enough ties here in Guatemala to make sure he wouldn't over stay his visa in the States.
Eventually we thought we had enough information to fill out the online application. It took us 6 hours (this with me, a native English speaker), two trips to the bank, $150 and many stressful moments because we knew every answer was crucial. Finally we filled it out and got the date for the interview in Guatemala City for a week later.
We spent that week trying to gather even more paper work to show at the interview (No, I don't think bringing samples of your bread is a good idea), speculating at what they would ask, which would be the best answers, and imagining the process so that the day of we would be prepared. It was horrible. Each person we knew who went through the process had a different tip, some of which contradicted each other (You should bring Kate! Whatever you do, don't bring Kate). All of the questions, ideas, doubts were constantly bouncing around in our heads and every night one of us would wake up at some point with a new idea of paper work or doubts on how we filled out the application. Meanwhile, Carlos is prepping everything so that his businesses continue to run while he is gone.
Finally we took the 4 hour bus ride through the mountains and rain to the capital for our interview the next day at 8:30am. Luckily Carlos' mom, Dona Irma, lives in Guatemala City so we were able to save money by staying with her. At 6:00am the next day we got up extremely nervous. Carlos' Mom and brother spent the morning criticizing his choice of shoes, the shirt he decided to wear, and his hair cut. We have our 10 pound envelope filled with proof of everything Carlos has done in his life including his participation in the Slow Food movement, news articles from when his business opened, and even a copy of his restaurant's menu, knowing full well that often times they don't even look at your paperwork. Finally we got in the car with Dona Irma so she could drop us off at the U.S. Embassy.
As we are weaving in and out of the craziest traffic I've ever seen, Carlos' mom has the radio on to a evangelical preacher radio station which Carlos keeps turning down and she keeps turning up. Then Carlos' sister calls and Dona Irma starts talking on the phone. I see him start to pinch certain acupuncture points for stress and I'm gasping every other minute as I almost see us run over every poor motorcyclist as we cut them off. There is so much traffic that it is 8:15am and in between talking on the phone and turning up the radio, Dona Irma keeps telling us that we should be in line by now and that we are going to miss the appointment. Suddenly I don't care about the appointment and I just want to make it there alive.
The ride from hell eventually ends with Dona Irma sending us with God, Carlos goes in to the embassy, and I take a seat outside along with 75 other people and try to relax. I watch everyone walk out of the embassy one by one, most of which are crying, either for happiness or out of frustration and sadness. I see all of the family members eagerly awaiting their loved one's and everyone is speculating about the things that help or harm your case. Families are dressed up like they are going to a wedding, and occasionally you see indigenous folks wearing their most sacred traditional clothing. I try not to cry each time someone comes out and shake their head before hugging their family member. I also try not to cry when I see people come out with joy in their face and run and jump into their loved one's arms with happiness of getting the visa. The power of the visa, the opportunity to go to the states and what it means for so many people feels so incredibly absurd it makes me want to run, yell and cry at the same time. I imagine Carlos' face and how I will react when he tells me he didn't get it. I know he will be frustrated, discouraged, and concerned for what this means for our relationship. I keep telling myself that I won't cry, that I will be understanding and that Minneapolis is cold that time of the year anyway.
Later I found out that where Carlos was waiting, all of the interviews are on a speaker phone . For three hours he listened to all of the questions, the answers and results of each interview. Additionally, they were testing their security system so that every 15 minutes an alarm would go off and a man's voice would say, in English, "step away from the windows! Step away from the windows!", everyone would tense up, due to English not being included in the 23 languages spoken in the country, and then "this is just a drill, this is just a drill".
After an agonizing period of time, I see Carlos walk down the stairs, come out of the security gate and look at me. I can't tell by his face what happened and he says "Let's go, let's get out of here". I'm walking behind him wondering what that means in regards to his visa when he looks back and winks at me. We walk in silence into a cafe where he orders a coffee and I, a beer.
As I turn to go to the bathroom, he tells me, "They'll send me my passport with the visa in 3 days." I give him a hug and call him an asshole for making me wait, and then I go into the bathroom and sob.
His interview lasted 2 minutes. He got a nice looking older lady who asked him why he was going to the States. As we had prepped, he took advantage of the opportunity to self advocate and handed her the letter of invitation I wrote. She read every wors of it, and due to the month it took me to write it, it gave her a lot of the info she needed about his life and investment in his community. Then she said, "Minneapolis, wow. And it says you have two restaurants?" Again, Carlos took full advantage and handed her all of the bank statements, patents, proof of ownership and official tax documents. She opened the packet from the back, and looked at the page where we had glued his business cards and publicity onto a blank page 11:00pm the night before. "Yum, Bagels...I'm hungry!" she said with a smile. She asked a few more things about his work, his mom's visa, and then turned to the computer. "You passport will be mailed to you in 3 days with your visa Mr. Valdez". Carlos said thank you and left.
I still can't quite believe this is happening, but Carlos will be coming with me on the flight in October. We feel so lucky, to have gotten that hungry lady in a good mood, that Carlos is good at seducing people with talk of bread, to have brought the right things, to have the means to fill out the application, to pay, to travel, take time off from work, etc. While going through so many emotions, I can only think what this means to me, to him, and for our relationship, and how our case is fairly trivial in comparison to those who want the visa to meet their mom for the first time, to see their children, to get medical treatment or say goodbye to a loved one who is passing away.
I can't begin to imagine how tolling the process is on them.
It was important for me to share our story with you to remind ourselves of how insanely privileged we are to have documents to this particular country. I never thought seeing Carlos in Minneapolis would become a reality, and thanks to his bagels, we will be biking through the fall leaves and picking apples in two weeks time.©2013 Kate Johnson-Powers
Participants at the SENA Annual Meeting on Nov. 13 listened to several proposals for improving the Standish and Ericsson neighborhoods and then voted on the one they liked best. “Ski Hut” was the winning Big Idea for 2013.MORE »
Participants at the SENA Annual Meeting on Nov. 13 listened to several proposals for improving the Standish and Ericsson neighborhoods and then voted on the one they liked best. “Ski Hut” was the winning Big Idea for 2013.
This idea is to work with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to open the clubhouse at Hiawatha Golf Course on Sunday afternoons so that the public, especially families with children, will have a place to warm up and get refreshments after cross-country skiing. It was put forth by John Saunders, Pete West, and Matt McKinney, neighborhood ski enthusiasts who have already founded a children’s ski race called the “Hiawatha Hustle.” They will have $1,000 from SENA to pursue their Big Idea.
‘Of the four other ideas offered, two of them “won” in a different way. After the vote, SENA staff member Shirley Yeoman announced that an anonymous donor would give $1,000 to fund a non-winning idea focused on improving the environment. “Save the Beach” and “Adopt a Storm Drain,” both of which addressed improving the water quality in Lake Hiawatha, will share in this award.
Before the meeting started, attendees were treated to music by a jazz trio from South High School. A Baker’s Wife Pastry Shop (4200 28th Ave. S.) donated baked goods, and Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Bar (4208 28th Ave. S.) donated coffee for the event.
Outgoing SENA President Sam Newberg opened the business meeting by introducing Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, newly elected Park Board Member Stephanie Musich, and City Council Member-Elect Andrew Johnson. Sam also thanked outgoing City Council Members Gary Schiff and Sandy Colvin Roy for their service to our neighborhoods. Sam, who is leaving the SENA Board after serving the maximum three terms (nine years), was given an award for his service.
Seven candidates ran for election to the board. Current member Amy Lawler was reelected. The new board members elected are Marcie Golden, Melissa Hysing, Katherine Pederson, Betsy Born, Charlie Christopherson, and Luis Morales. After the meeting, board members elected officers for 2014: president, Chris Lautenschlager; vice president, Molly McCartney; secretary, Susan Fall, and treasurer, Owen Braaten.
Photo: Three skiing families presented a plan that became the Big Idea.© 2013 Dayton's Bluff Forum
If you’re big enough to admit to enjoying soft rock ballads, than you probably have a least a couple Michael Bolton songs in your iTunes lMORE »
If you’re big enough to admit to enjoying soft rock ballads, than you probably have a least a couple Michael Bolton songs in your iTunes library. Surely best known for his recognizable singing voice, Bolton’s songwriting is actually what put him on the map in the early 80s and he has managed to stay very busy and relevant for more than three decades. The product of this significant career was on display Tuesday, December 3rd as longtime fans of the artist filled the Burnsville Performing Arts Center for nearly two hours of music rich entertainment. This newer suburban theater was an excellent fit for the show, having an intimate feel for its size with nice stadium seating and exceptional acoustics.
The audience was enthusiastic as Bolton opened the show with the title track from his 1989 career changing album Soul Provider. The song proved to be a good introduction to his touring band’s exceptional skill with particular focus on a hometown sax player and some big sustained notes mixed in enabling Bolton to warm up his pipes. He connected with the audience between most songs telling stories in a calm, husky voice that gave the show a sort of casual yet overall classy feel. You were able to gain a quick appreciation for the diversity of his many projects as he flowed between styles with classics like “Dock of the Bay” and a stirring version of “Silent Night” to encourage a little Christmas spirit. Bolton’s sweet falsetto intro on “Said I Loved You” made it an early standout and was a nice hit to take you back to that popular sound. The first of three mini-sets concluded with an injection of Blues on Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago” during which Bolton grabbed an axe and surprised some with a worthy solo.
Bolton left the stage briefly and changed into in a sharp black suit that encouraged a few whistles and yelps of approval from the ladies. Each time someone yelled out in this fashion, he joked that people had been strategically placed throughout the venue to make him look good. Bolton described the middle part of the show as being his favorite, starting out with “Make You Feel My Love” from his recent album of duets “Gems.” Some of the most fun happened during the title track to his current release “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Tribute to Hitsville,” which he described as an album of music he grew up on. Fan’s thoroughly enjoyed one of his biggest hits “How Am I Supposed to Live” and were then treated to some of the evenings best vocals on the David Foster penned “The Prayer,” which drew a standing ovation.
Bolton thrilled fans when a light found him out in the audience as he launched into the much anticipated “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Now dressed down in jeans, converse and a t-shirt, his Rock-n-Roll side was revealed on “How Can We Be Lovers” and “Love and Tenderness.” After building up to the high energy material to end the show, Bolton returned for an encore consisting only of “Lean on Me,” which actually packed enough punch to button up the performance in a big way with tasteful multipart harmonies. The worthwhile first rate performance left fans on a high, probably wondering how long it may be before Bolton makes his way back to the Twin Cities to do it all again.©2013 Patrick Dunn
Imagine the Twin Cities’ best jazz venue, the Capri Theater, somewhat upstaged by a two-story addition that’s mostly windows, facing west. A courtyard, and then a new commercial building further west, with a sit-down restaurant a half block away. In our neighborhood.MORE »
Imagine the Twin Cities’ best jazz venue, the Capri Theater, somewhat upstaged by a two-story addition that’s mostly windows, facing west. A courtyard, and then a new commercial building further west, with a sit-down restaurant a half block away. In our neighborhood.
In two separate sets of actions, the City of Minneapolis and the Capri owner, Plymouth Christian Youth Center, will likely be inching closer to that reality Dec. 12. That’s the day PCYC’s part of the deal comes before the City Council, and the day responses are due to a city request for proposals on the commercial property.
For as long as we can remember, the Capri, built in 1927 as a movie theater, has lacked safe and sanitary “green room” space in the logical places. Play productions rely on actors standing outside the building backstage or running through the audience aisles after preparing in the nearby dance room or upstairs classrooms. A basement space under the stage is off-limits, a nasty pit at the bottom of narrow stairs.
In 2009 the lobby was reclaimed for patrons (a previous remodel blocked up most of the windows and made it a music classroom). Most important for production quality, that $700,000 remodel also installed new lighting and sound systems which started attracting even more rentals. Minnesota Monthly dubbed it the “best jazz venue” as local musicians honored jazz legends in this new professional space.
At the latest Legends Series concert, PCYC executive director Anne Long announced the plans; a presentation board in the lobby showed the new space—the two story addition housing a new flexible performance space on the land that used to be Holding Forth the Word of Life. It was foreclosed, the City bought it. Two buildings, which the Capri would have expanded into, were irreparably damaged in the 2011 tornado and torn down.
The new plan, with projected cost about $5.8 million, shows new construction surrounding the old building to the west and south. Long explained it will take a couple of years to raise the funds. The city’s community development committee Nov. 19 approved selling the land for $161,650 and noted the Capri is in the “soft” stage of a capital campaign. City Council approval is the last step in the land sale, expected Dec. 12 this year.
“And we may even get a restaurant,” Long forecasted to the almost sold-out Legends house. That’s a separate deal. When 2101 West Broadway, the former Broadway Rental building and former grocery store, perished due to the tornado, it, too became blank city-owned land. There is one more parcel the city’s working on acquiring, tangential to the key parcels on what they are calling the Capri Block. The city issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a multi-story apartment building and commercial space on the first floor, “preferably including a restaurant,” according to the RFP.
The RFP asks applicants to consider how a taller building or buildings will relate to the shorter structures in the surrounding neighborhood. Rentals should be market rate, and marketed to the general public.
The RFP packet notes the other apartment buildings soon to be built on Broadway, the Penn Avenue planning process for bus rapid transit underway, and other positive indicators for successful commerce in the area. The RFP responses are due Dec. 12. It’s expected the developers will be reviewed with neighborhood organizations Feb. 14, 2014, and for the city council to choose a developer April 11, 2014.
Link to Capri expansion plans: www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@clerk/documents/webcontent/wcms1p-116809.pdf
Link to Capri block RFP: www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@cped/documents/webcontent/wcms1p-116318.pdf
At the other end of the block
Coincidentally, Nov. 19 the Community Development Committee approved a request to issue $1,850,000 in Tax-exempt 501(c)(3) Bank Qualified Bank Direct Minneapolis Community Development Agency Revenue Bonds, Series 2013 for Catalyst Five Points, LLC (pending full council approval). This bond issue helps refinance the debt remaining on the $2.5 million 2010 Broadway and Penn building renovation, replacing two bank loans that are coming due and resulting in a lower interest rate. Catalyst is current on its payments, and puts up equity in other buildings as part of the collateral on this financing.
Catalyst kept the first floor of the building open trying to attract a sit-down restaurant but eventually filled the building with the Northside Achievement Zone offices. Many hope that with the other developments of the last few years, including the pop-up restaurant Umami’s success and Anytime Fitness opening across the street from the Capri, that “this time’s a charm” to get the kind of restaurant theater patrons look for.© 2013 North News
How is the Minneapolis Mississippi riverfront doing?MORE »
How is the Minneapolis Mississippi riverfront doing?
Back in 2008, city and state officials—realizing the potential for riverfront development—decided to keep track of development-related indicators along the river. They formed a nonprofit corporation, Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership (MRP), to monitor the riverfront and conduct research that will help guide development.
About a year ago, MRP launched the Riverfront Vitality Project, an effort to document the state of the riverfront using five indicators: Economic health, environmental health, cultural resources, riverfront access and public perception.
“Taken together, these indicators provide a broad, yet balanced perspective on where we are today,” MRP Board Chair Thomas Johnson wrote in the introduction to the project report. “When updated annually, the indicators will track the results of public and private investments, providing a clear understanding of where progress is occurring— or not occurring—toward achieving the goals of city and park plans.”
The report, titled Riverfront Vitality Project: What Gets Measured Gets Done, was released at the Second Annual Riverfront Summit Monday, Oct. 7.
Researchers divided the Minneapolis riverfront into three sections: The Upper River, north of the Plymouth Avenue Bridge to the city limits; the Central Riverfront, between the Plymouth Avenue Bridge and the Washington Avenue Bridge; and the Lower Gorge, south of the Washington Avenue Bridge to the city limits.
They defined the riverfront as “the area from the river to the park boulevards, plus another one half mile inland. Where no park boulevards exist an equivalent line was used.” Given that definition, the Upper River has the largest riverfront area with 3.4 square miles. The Central Riverfront has two square miles and the Lower Gorge has 2.8 square miles.
Quoting from the report’s Summary of Findings:
- In the Central Riverfront, $340 million of public funds generated $1.9 billion of private sector investment, a 560 percent return. These figures tell a compelling story about what public investment can leverage in other segments of the riverfront, particularly the Upper River.
- During the past 10 years, in comparison to the City of Minneapolis as a whole, properties in the Central River and Lower Gorge saw tax value increases that were 27 percent higher than the Minneapolis average. While properties in the Upper River saw increases, they were 38 percent less than the Minneapolis average.
- The Upper River and Lower Gorge provide a similar number of jobs with a similar wage distribution. The types of jobs vary considerably, with the Upper River providing more manufacturing jobs and the Lower Gorge segment providing more healthcare jobs. Both areas provide far fewer jobs than the Central Riverfront.
- The number of contaminated or historically contaminated sites is much higher in the Upper River and Central Riverfront compared to the Lower Gorge.
- Fish are known to be generally edible, a sign of a recovering eco-system. However, research on fish population and diversity is very limited.
- Conditions for aquatic recreation must be monitored. While areas of the river may be safe to swim, bacteria is the most significant contaminant and comes from an aging sewage infrastructure and pet waste that washes into the river during storm events.
- There are numerous historic sites and districts in the study area. Strong preservation efforts have restored significant structures in Central Riverfront’s Saint Anthony Falls Historic District, including the landmark Washburn-Crosby A Mill and the Stone Arch Bridge. Other buildings such as the Pillsbury A Mill are currently being redeveloped.
- The historical significance of the region along the Upper River remains under-recognized despite its significance to the development of the city as a major transportation corridor.
- For over 1.3 million people in the metro area, the Minneapolis Riverfront is within a 12-minute driving distance.
- Public access is unevenly distributed throughout the riverfront. The most opportunity for improved access exists in the Upper River.
- Public transportation exists throughout the riverfront but East-West transportation across the Mississippi is very limited.
- There is growing national recognition of the importance of the Mississippi River to the City of Minneapolis.
- Park usage in the Central Riverfront has seen the largest increase of any river segment over the past 10 years. Usage in the Upper River, an area underserved by parks, has remained flat; the usage rate is less than one fifth that of the Central Riverfront.
- Additional research needs to be done on public perception. Current data is limited to usage counts or intercept surveys for particular segments of the riverfront.
For more information on MRP, visit minneapolisriverfrontpartnership.org.© 2013 North News