This Xcel energy facility, built in the 1940s to burn coal, now burns garbage from Ramsey County.  It's permit expired in 2009       

COMMUNITY VOICES | Don’t ignore big burning issue

The collapse of the effort to expand garbage burning in downtown Minneapolis is a big deal–and a huge tribute to the people who made it an issue in the recent elections.  Anyone following Minneapolis politics must know that the will of the people is not easily heard.  But incinerator schemes are playing out all over Minnesota.  Believe it or not, there is one in Koochiching County, population around 13,000.The piece following appeared in the Red Wing Republican-Eagle.  Take a look at the link to nearly-identical letters from the state incinerator industry lobby, Sen. Matt Schmit, and Rep. Mike Kelly.  A hint, maybe, of how deep this evil industry has its hooks into Minnesota. was a pleasure to walk to City Hall last month and see solar panels being installed. Continue Reading

Logo created by Mia Johnson. 

COMMUNITY VOICES | Fifty Shades of Gender begins to go into production

Fifty Shades of Gender is a project that I have been personally coordinating since around April of 2013. It’s been started as a documentary project focused on telling the stories and experiences of the transgender struggle from the perspectives of transgender individuals directed by a transgender identified person. The goals of this project include “looking at the fine points of the gender binary and questioning if these gender definitions are too rigid for us to all be living in. We aim to identify other gender identities, the struggles that we go through trying to fit into these binaries or beyond them, and what we can do to break down the boxes of simply male and female” “I really just want people to be educated about gender and trans* issues and learn how to treat us with respect and human dignity.  Raising awareness is the first step to changing things.” Says gender-queer identified participant, Ollie Schminkey.There will be discussions throughout the project on how our society currently defines gender from the day that we are born, the role of patriarchy, and the intersection of various other identities that are affected in relation to our assigned gender and personal gender identities. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | NRC Nuclear nonsense hearing in Minnetonka December 4th

Nuclear Regulatory Commission “Waste Confidence” public meeting December 4. Minnetonka, Minnesota Minneapolis Marriott Southwest 5801 Opus Parkway Minnetonka, MN 55343 Open House 6:00-7:00 p.m. CST Meeting 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. Continue Reading

1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
Credit: Public Domain: 1963 March on Washington by USIA (NARA)

COMMUNITY VOICES | 50 years after the March on Washington: It’s time to arise to today’s civil-rights challenges

A version of this article originally appeared in MinnPostOn August 28, 1963, 250,000 Americans bravely descended on our nation’s capital to participate in The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The peaceful protesters poured in from all over the country to urge America to make good on her promise of “liberty and justice for all.”The March on Washington occurred during a tumultuous time in American history in which African Americans experienced racial segregation, barriers to education, employment, voting, and housing. They also faced discrimination in many of our nation’s institutions and private establishments. Indeed, just nine years prior to the March on Washington, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education that racially segregated schools for blacks and whites were inherently unequal and in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.Although the High Court’s decision in 1954 was significant and represented a legal and moral victory for African Americans, the nation continued to struggle with issues of racial justice. Continue Reading

Miriam Barber Judd

COMMUNITY VOICES | Letters of wife of MN Congressman Walter Judd to be published as book

Miriam Barber Judd was a prolific letter writer. She could pour out her feelings and experiences much more easily on paper than propriety allowed her to in daily life. The result is an amazing collection of letters (she left almost 2,000) and private writings that give a real-time, first-person account of the life behind a public servant.Now her daughter, Mary Lou Judd Carpenter, has put these together in a volume called Miriam’s Words: The Personal Price of a Public Life. These selections give a chronological, well-written, insightful account of the life of the spouse of a public servant, Dr. Walter Judd, who was a medical missionary to China in the 1920s and 1930s, a 20-year Congressman and a delegate to the United Nations. Miriam kept the home fires burning, and was an undaunted masterful manager of the many worlds she inhabited.What is seldom heard is the price of such service. Continue Reading