Dickinson driving a 1989 Celica in the film Tired Moonlight, by local director Britni West.

The Rural Poetry of Tired Moonlight: Paul Dickinson on Starring in the Local Festival Hit

Tired Moonlight is local filmmaker Britni West’s first film as a director, and it’s  coming to the Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival tomorrow. The film is an delicate atmospheric  homage to life in rural Montana, filled with soft touches, and introspective look at relationships in small towns. I really enjoyed it!Most films that depict rural poverty in America – think about a film like Winter’s Bone – paint a bleak picture of life at the margins. Tired Moonlight manages to make the world of back roads Montana seem lovely, without resorting to the usual nostalgic clichés. It was one of the most honest meditations on small town life I’ve seen, and almost made me wish I’d grown up in a place like Kalispell.The film also stars long-time Saint Paul punk musician, poet, book seller, and professor Paul Dickinson, who owns the Dead Media bookstore and runs the Riot Act Reading Series. Continue Reading

NorthPoint Health & Wellness CEO Stella Whitney-West (right) talks about the joining forces with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) in the new West Broadway Education and Career Center, scheduled to open in the summer of 2016. Looking on are DEED deputy commissioner Jeremy Hanson-Willis (left) and MPS interim superintendent Michael Gore. Photo by Harry Colbert, Jr.

Groundbreaking set for Long-Vacant Dealership, to Become Northside Center

All around Minneapolis proof of the economic boon can be seen with the recently developed or under development commercial and residential sites – everywhere except north Minneapolis. The new Vikings stadium is taking shape nicely, transforming the downtown landscape. Over the past few years Uptown has become unrecognizable from its former self with a plethora of upscale multi-use commercial and residential buildings now dotting the area. Development is all around it seems, with the exception of north Minneapolis. Outside of the recently completed Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) headquarters on West Broadway Avenue, development on the Northside has been stagnant … to put it mildly.To drive down West Broadway in many ways looks like a trip back to the 1960s or 1970s but there seems to be a renewed interest in developing north Minneapolis and West Broadway in particular. Continue Reading

Mike Griffin of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) leading a chat of "black lives matter" on the steps of City Hall during last week's "People's State of the City" rally.  Photo by Bill Lindeke.

Dueling State of the City Events Reveal Rift Between Rhetoric and Reality of Inequality

These days it’s hard to tell whether Minneapolis is united about being divided. Last week, two contrasting “state of the city” events — Mayor Betsy Hodges official speech at the American Swedish Institute, and a rally the next morning organized a North-side grassroots group — illustrated the ongoing tension between the rhetoric and reality of racial inequality in Minneapolis.Hodges’ speech, an annual tradition for mayors across the country, emphasized the themes that led her to an easy victory in the 2013 election. As Gino Terrell wrote on the Daily Planet earlier this week, Hodges stressed education, income inequality, and climate change, as part of her plans for the upcoming year. But the well-received speech comes only months after Hodges’ efforts to devote city resources to addressing inequality became surprisingly contentious. During budget debates at City Hall, Hodges’ plans to address racial inequality sparked a small controversy, particularly in parts of the city that are struggling the most with foreclosures and racial inequality. While debating the budget, Council Members Yang and Warsame and other Council Members  voted to defund part of Mayor Hodges’ key proposals in favor of more “meat and potatoes” issues that impact neighborhoods like Jordan or Cedar-Riverside, home to many  of the highest proportions of people of color in the city. Continue Reading

Scott Gray

Gray leaves MUL post; Steven Belton named interim

On Wednesday, April 1, 2015, the Minneapolis Urban League Board of Directors announced that Scott Gray will be stepping down as president and CEO to pursue other opportunities. Gray will remain on board with the organization for 30 days to assist with the transition. The Board has appointed experienced community leader, assistant pastor, and attorney Steven Belton as the Interim CEO. Belton and his family have had a strong connection with MUL going back to his early years when his family was honored as an “Urban League Family of the Year”. “We are thankful for Scott’s leadership over the past 6 years at the Minneapolis Urban League,” said Clinton Collins, Jr., chair of the MUL Board of Directors. “Under Scott’s leadership, MUL has strengthened its programs and partnerships. We wish him well in his new career and educational endeavors.”When the Board hired Gray nearly six years ago, he promised innovative programs to lift more Minneapolis families out of poverty. Continue Reading