Monday, December 12, 2016

We Heart Yr ʼHood

What’s Happening in Your Community Newspapers

Bird's eye view of Minneapolis, Minn.
"Bird's eye view of Minneapolis, Minn." by Frank Pezolt. From the Library of Congress, via Wikimedia Commons.

We can’t deny the contemporary state of information overload, and we know we’re contributing to it. Twin Cities Runoff is giving you one more thing to read every week, one more thing to expand your portfolio of local knowledge, and maybe it’s a little too much. You might skim our stories; you might read us once a month; or you might glance at the first paragraph, think “tl;dr” and be on your merry way.

Then again, there’s a good possibility TCR is just what you need.

You are aching to know what’s actually going on in Minnesota besides whatever some former governor said in some other state. You want more—more stories, more neighborhoods, more voices—but you don’t have the time to read over the multitude of independent publications available in our fair Cities.

Today Twin Cities Runoff introduces We <3 Yr ‘Hood, a monthly (or so) roundup of stories and points of interest in community-oriented and independent publications that don’t always make it to major papers and other online news roundups. It’s inspired by a friend and reader, University of Minnesota PhD student Meagan Manning.

We <3 Yr ’Hood is a work in progress. (We’re not even sure whether we like the column title, so suggest a better one.)  In this issue, we’ve mostly included community newspapers that make their new content available online, but in the future we’d like to include more print-only publications. We’ve read as many publications as we could find, but we haven’t included every publication we read in the roundup.

Generally, included stories were directly related to community affairs in Minneapolis and St. Paul and of potential interest to residents of the whole metro area, rather than just a neighborhood. We included items that reflect ongoing news, rather than profiles of local businesses or past community events. And because there’s so many publications, we only included news for the month of February, with a couple of exceptions. We also supported stories with major news coverage that complemented community newspapers in one way or another.

This feature is intended to support other local publications and collect the fantastic work they’re doing, so please click through to read the whole story if something interests you.

So with that in mind: let us know if we missed something, or if you want us to include your community newspaper in the next We <3 Yr ’Hood, or you want to alert us to something, please let us know.

And if you can’t wait another month for the next one, keep your eye on the Daily Planet or the Glean at MinnPost for your news roundups.

Minnesota House Bill 306 would pave the way for children as young as 10 to be tried as adults for certain violent crimes. Charles Hallman of the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder discusses its potential impact on the black community: “Most of the persons who packed the meeting room last week and opposed the bill were Blacks. ‘It would be detrimental, especially against our African American community, that a 10-year-old be locked away and the key be thrown away,’ said Juan Coleman of Minneapolis.”

Citing statistics from the Minnesota Department of Corrections—in 2009, black inmates made up 35 percent of those incarcerated in Minnesota’s state prison system, but only 4.5 percent of Minnesota’s population is black—the Spokesman-Recorder considers the impact of the bill, which has since been laid over by the House for further consideration. At Insight News, the Spokesman-Recorder, and MinnPost, Joel Franklin, chair of the Legal Redress Committee of the St. Paul NAACP, provides commentary on this issue as well. This story was also covered by the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press along with the Minnesota House of Representatives’ Session Weekly, all of which provide a slightly different perspective.

In an effort to rehabilitate rather than further incarcerate young criminals, the Camden News reports on the success of Hennepin County’s Juvenile Gun Offender program. Tim Hammett writes, “Since the program was redesigned in 2007, more juveniles are completing the program and fewer are being charged with new gun-related offenses. From January 2008 through February 2009, (the most recent reporting period available) 69 percent of juveniles who were enrolled in the program successfully completed it.”

The Northeaster, Insight News, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet all describe Minnesota Second Chance Coalition’s recent efforts to “Ban the Box”—or, make it illegal for private employers to ask whether an applicant has a criminal record. Protests on Jan. 26 drew 600-700 to the State Capitol, Margo Ashmore of the Northeaster reported, emphasizing that “banning the box” helps former criminals get rehabilitated with stable employment, which keeps them from committing repeat offenses. State Senator John Harrington is planning to sponsor a bill allowing felons to vote, according to the Daily Planet.

Workers and allies of the Centro de Trabadorjes Unidos En Lucha protested outside of Lunds headquarters in Edina to protest the firing of 12 cleaning employees, according to Insight News. These employees abruptly lost their jobs when Lunds & Byerly’s switched contractors from National Floor Maintenance to Carlson Building Maintenance. Read more from Indymedia and Workday Minnesota, and find out about upcoming fundraisers at CTUL’s website.

Lavender magazine summarizes the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Creating Change Conference that was held in Minneapolis on Feb. 2-5, and the calls out an anti-gay “spy” at that conference, which, as you may remember, Target did not sponsor.

It’s Black History Month, and the Gov. Mark Dayton almost forgot. Oops! But, after some rallying, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder reports that the Minnesota African American Museum is now reincluded in the state’s $1 billion bonding bill, after it was mistakenly omitted.

In capturing the history of one of Minnesota’s most important immigrant communities, the Asian American Press writes that the ROC (Taiwan) Centennial Commission is teaming with the Minnesota Historical Society to provide a photographic and oral history called “100 Years of Chinese American History in Minnesota from 1911 – 2011.” They’re looking for contributors, so please consider volunteering your own stories.

In development news, the Alley celebrates the opening of the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center, the Longfellow/Nokomis Messenger debates the fate of the Howe School, and the Northeaster contemplates the Sample Room’s proposal for a marina and expanded offices along Marshall St. in Northeast Minneapolis. Phillips’ ReUse Center is closed after 15 years, says the Alley. St. Paul’s papers ponder parks: the St. Paul Planning Commission is considering three options for parkland at the former Ford plant site in Highland Park according to the Villager, and St. Paul is considering eliminating the Como Golf Course, says the Monitor.

Finally, here are some stray bits and pieces we enjoyed over the past month:

Rabbi Alexander Davis at American Jewish World considers Kosher dining in the Twin Cities, noting “Jewish communities smaller than the Twin Cities (i.e., Kansas City, Dallas, Cincinnati, Rochester, etc.) have proportionally greater numbers of kosher bakeries, restaurants and markets.”

Hero Magazine contemplates the loss of the University’s Harvard Market in a fascinating consideration of the loss of our semi-shady corner stores in favor of the pristine character-less chain stores. It’s a story we’re familiar with, but it’s told well.

Expect Southside Pride’s Bird Watch to be linked here time and again because we will always be curious about how exactly Powderhorn Park is like an aviary.

How’d we do? Want to see something different next time? Let us know.

Deborah Carver is the editor and publisher of Twin Cities Runoff.