Transpo convo: Phyllis in the snow

“It’s nasty out here,” Phyllis proclaims after crossing University Avenue at Pascal. She was dragging her shopping bag suitcase on wheels in one hand and using a cane in the other. She had started crossing at the green light and the 22 seconds of crossing time didn’t quite allow her to get all the way across, but the cars waited patiently for her to get to the sidewalk.

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Heads up Twin Cities, Plaid is the new Black Friday

(Photo by Sabrina Kennelly) Kathleen O'Hehir-Johnson makes truffles at her small candy store Just Truffles on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.

You can hear from the songs on the radio, the ads in the newspaper, and the commercials on TV that the holiday season has begun. This week Cyber Monday and Black Friday will have consumers opening up their wallets to grab the perfect present for their loved ones.

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Same-sex marriage could increase Minnesota's annual economy by $38 M

(Photo by Heidi Garrido) A couple kisses after being married by former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak at city hall on Aug. 1, 2013.

Since same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota, Heidi Garrido has shot for more than a dozen same-sex weddings. The St. Paul photographer said she’s already seen a major increase in her profits since the state legalized same-sex marriage last summer.

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This Black Friday, direct some of that cash toward #Ferguson organizers

(Photo by Neon Tommy published under Creative Commons License) Los Angeles protesters take to the streets after a grand jury on Monday announced that officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting and killing of the unarmed teenager Mike Brown.

With the release of a grand jury’s decision not to indict Mike Brown’s killer, many of us are feeling a lot of anger and sadness about the racist systems in place in our country. It warms my heart to see all the Black Lives Matter hashtags and Ferguson protest invites popping up on my Facebook newsfeed.

Keep on posting and marching, but listen, there’s something we have to talk about:

Money.

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OPINION | What to do with Penn Avenue?

Seems like soon as I arrive at one of these open houses for community transit planning, there’s a particular biking enthusiast who pounces and bends my ear for a few minutes. The Nov. 13 open house for Penn Avenue planning held at the Harrison community center was no exception.

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Indie First Day/Small Business Saturday, November 29

Reading is such a personal thing to me, I’d much rather give someone a
gift certificate to a bookstore, and let that person choose his or her own books.
-Writer & journalist, Erik Larson

A gift suggestion to consider as you work your way down this season’s holiday shopping list. A best path to the perfect book – - or the gift certificate — starts with a visit to a favorite indie bookstores on Small Business Saturday, November 29, 2014 – a day now known to bibliophiles as Indies First day!

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Minneapolis may allow later hours for businesses

(Photo by Elizabeth Brumley) Afro Deli owner Abdirahman Kahin takes orders Nov. 19, 2014. A proposed ordinance change would allow businesses to extend their hours of operation 35 days a year.

Abdirahman Kahin, owner of the West Bank’s Afro Deli, sees fewer customers during Ramadan, the monthlong Muslim daytime fast.

His restaurant is only open until 9 p.m., a time that’s too early for many Muslims to eat during the fasting period.

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A call for sales tax on cars and gasoline

No, I’m not joking. David Levinson wrote about an often overlooked but important subsidy* given to drivers: the lack of sales tax on gasoline and auto/truck purchases. I’m surprised this hasn’t received more attention given the other distortions that see press. Yes, we pay a motor vehicle sales tax when buying a car, but that is supposed to be a user fee for funding roads (well, 60% of it at least). Yes, we also pay state and federal gas taxes, but again those are user fees (the MN gas tax is 100% dedicated to the Highway User Tax Distribution Fund).

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Workers to hold week of action to demand higher wages

(Still from video below, courtesy of blackfridayprotests.org)

Low-wage workers in a variety of Minnesota workplaces plan a week of action Nov. 28 to Dec. 5 around demands for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and improvements in working conditions.

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Minneapolis is hitting the trifecta

If you’re a millennial and you’re looking for a job in a new city, you might have read (or want to read) the November 19th article in The Atlantic about “why it’s so hard for millenials to find a place to live and work”. The problem, it seems, is that the cities with the most upward mobility and the highest median incomes are also the cities with the least affordable housing.

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