Minnesota Voices is a TC Daily Planet feature that highlights individuals from many different places in our community. They are not just the usual voices who are quoted in news stories and appear on editorial pages (though those people may appear from time to time), but artists, business owners, community organizers, teachers, and more.

Minnesota Voices stories are, above all, interesting and personal. These stories are NOT dry, formulaic, or the same old, same old message that a lobbyist or advocate has given sixteen times already. Minnesota Voices focuses on who people are and what they do in the world, and on what motivates their lives. For information about writing a Minnesota Voices article, click here

COMMUNITY VOICES | Don't ignore big burning issue

Photos By: 
Alan Muller

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








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 Min


Juventino Meza wins double honors for community work

Ohtli award ceremony. Photo courtesy of Isabel Duran, ©Isabel Duran

At 25, Juventino Meza is much younger than the typical recipients of the Ohtli Award and the Immigrant of Distinction Award. Meza was honored in a ceremony at the Mexican Consulate in St.


MN VOICES | Kimberly Nightingale and the Saint Paul Almanac: Sharing stories as community activism

Kimberly Nightingale is a woman who is following her passion and living her dream. The key to her success: Commitment.


MN VOICES | Former miner and school teacher lobby against national forest land swap

Bob and Pat Tammen rolled into the Twin Cities in their sturdy mobile home on January 5 to attend the Parents United for Public Schools legislative kickoff.


MN VOICES | Health care challenges in Minnesota tied to access, insurance, say physician advocates

Drs. Settgast and Frost (photo courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Frost)

After daily witnessing situations in which patients suffered or had to make decisions detrimental to their health due to difficulties in accessing health care, Dr. Elizabeth Frost and Dr. Ann Settgast had enough. They felt they had to do something that would allow everyone to have health insurance and so, access to health care. The two decided to found the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).


MN VOICES | Addressing health inequities in Minnesota takes engagement from regular people

Doran Schrantz (Copyright 2012 Sara Rubinstein/Wonderful Machine. Used with permission from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

Health disparities implies something that is just there, Doran Schrantz explained. Health inequities, on the other hand, implies a societal structure that produces inequality. “We need a structure that brings more equity,” Schrantz said as she described the differences in terms.


MN VOICES | Alan Shilepsky: A lifetime of passion for politics

(l to r) Julia Freeman, Hana Worku and Alan Shilepsky at election circle.
 (Photo by Bruce Johansen)

Alan Shilepsky likes talking, especially about politics and books. You can sit hours and hours with him in a good coffee shop and discuss politics and the world without getting bored. Shilepsky has strong opinions and does not hesitate to share them. He knows that he puts people’s backs up but it seems not to bother him.


MN VOICES | Jay Clark combines organizing and education

Jay Clark, the Director of the Minnesota Center for Neighborhood Organizing (MCNO), a program of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), thinks that everybody should be involved with their neighborhood group, whether they are rich or poor.  “It’s so American and so needed and not done in a lot of contexts,” he said. As opposed to other kinds or organizations, where people are preselected depending on their ideology or belief, neighborhood groups allow a voice for every person. “We need it badly,” he said. “There are too many forces that pull us apart.” 

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