#BringBackOurGirls — now?

Today’s news reports claim the Nigerian government and Boko Haram have reached a truce, and that the girls kidnapped six months ago will be returned. I want to believe. I want this to be true. And as much as I want to believe, I know that parents and families of 200+ girls want so immeasurably more for this to be true, for their girls to return.

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Bullies and building communities

It's October, so this is a good month to talk about the things and people that have scared us or tried to scare us over the years. Some of those fears were justified, and many were not. For those of us with roots in Laos and other parts of Southeast Asia who escaped the wars, this is an interesting question.

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Can financial incentives force police cultural change?

Both Minneapolis Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau are committed to changing the culture of the Minneapolis police into more of community police force. The police abuse has violated community trust. Chief Harteau even called in the federal Justice Department to put on more pressure to change. The Star Tribune describes the conclusions:

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Metro Transit promises more, better shelters; Community members remain skeptical

(Photo by Sarah Ellen Miller) Transit and Econ Development Organizer for Harrison Neighborhood Association Michael McDowell said this stop on West Broadway and Emerson gets more than 200 riders a day, but doesn't have heat. He hopes the new program will consider it for renovation.

A new goal to construct and renovate bus shelters in low-income neighborhoods has been met with skepticism rather than excitement from some community members.

Metro Transit announced through Metro Council last week that they are the recipients of a $3.2 million Ladders of Opportunity grant — part of which will be used to construct and renovate bus shelters in Minneapolis and St. Paul by the end of 2015. Officials said with more and better shelters, they hope to increase ridership, and improve safety and comfort.

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At Minneapolis policing forum, questions about intervention

In an open letter to the community, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges acknowledged that some of the city's police officers have abused their power, and she promised to repair the department’s reputation as a cornerstone of her administration.

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Targeted programs could stop terror recruitment, say city and neighborhood leaders

(Photo by August Schwerdfeger published under Creative Commons License)

After months of scrutiny surrounding terrorist organizations’ recruitment in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, residents and city leaders are calling for more community resources and youth programs.

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Minneapolis City Council approves military activity oversight

(Photo by Demon Brigade published under Creative Commons License)

Black military helicopters swept Minneapolis’ skies this August, flying closely past high-rise buildings — to the surprise of residents.

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Drones in Minnesota: What we know

On a remote tarmac, three steel-gray “Predator B” drones sit motionless, awaiting launch. Their tips balloon into metallic bulges that conceal sophisticated navigation and surveillance equipment. Their undercarriages sport pivot-mounted cameras, each capable of rendering detailed images from high in the air.

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Women's Advocates, nation's first women's shelter, marks 40 years in St. Paul

There are more than 1,500 battered women's shelters in the United States today. Forty years ago, there were none - until Women's Advocates opened its doors in St. Paul. Since then, the shelter has served over 38,000 women and children, housing 50 at a time - typically, about 30 kids (ranging from a few days old to late teens) and 20 women - and it receives about 16,000 crisis calls per year.

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