Dinky gets closer to new status

The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission released a report Monday that said Dinkytown’s four-block core meets most of the criteria to be considered a local historic district.The city began work on the study nearly a year ago to decide whether about 30 buildings in the Dinkytown Businesses District could be considered historic — a status that would make them nearly untouchable for inquiring developers. The preservation commission’s request for a historic study was triggered when Doran Companies proposed a six-story hotel that would have displaced the building that houses Camdi Restaurant, Mesa Pizza and Dinkytown Tattoo. Area business owners and community members have since banded together in hopes of preserving the area from extensive development. Members of the public can submit comments about the report until May 22. A public hearing is expected to take place in the summer before the designation goes to the City Council for a final vote. Continue Reading

Dayton’s budget focused squarely on education

Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a $42 billion, two-year budget heavily focused on Minnesota’s youngest residents. Unveiled Tuesday, Dayton’s budget framework would spend most of the state’s projected $1 billion surplus on program areas like early childhood education and child health, and would provide nearly $100 million in child care assistance tax credits to Minnesota families. The plan would increase state spending by roughly $2.5 billion more in 2016-2017 over the current biennium and leave $35 million of the projected surplus unspent. “I’m placing my priority on the future of Minnesota,” Dayton said during a morning news conference. The proposed spending, he said, is aimed squarely at closing the state’s achievement gap between white and minority students by doing more, earlier, to place less of a burden on the state’s schools to solve the disparities. Continue Reading

Cafe Racer opens

Café Racer, at 2929 E. 25th St., just opened this month after a long and serious review by the neighborhood, city staff and Council Member Cam Gordon. Gordon wrote:  “I want to clear up any confusion about my views or understanding in relation to this new restaurant being proposed in Seward. “In general I try to approach these situations looking for ways I can help. When I learn about any new business, project or initiative, I start out looking for how I might assist a person or group in realizing their goals. If a project appears not to be in conflict with community goals or my core values, I work to help identify any issues or concerns and see if I can help find a path to a win-win-win situation. Continue Reading

Great Lakes Brewing Company Gives Back

Craft beer culture often has a focus on community issues and giving back beyond the beer. That charitable bent isn’t limited to the immediate community, though. As breweries grow and reach further across the country, that impact is felt beyond municipality borders. Great Lakes Brewing Company, established in 1988 in Cleveland, OH, is a clear example of that philanthropy with their 2015 Green Tour.Ranked as the 23rd largest craft brewery in the country, Great Lakes adheres to a “triple bottom line philosophy,” described by the brewery’s Marissa DeSantis as “our company’s commitment to environmental, social, and financial responsibility.” As their beer reaches markets far outside Cleveland, they’re taking that eco-awareness to other markets, including Minneapolis on April 25. In partnership with Friends of the Mississippi River, volunteers will help clean up the riverbank from 9:30am-12pm, followed by an after party at Sea Salt Eatery. “This cleanup is an Earth Day tradition in the Minneapolis River Gorge,” explains Field Sales Representative Adam Essman, who will lead festivities. Continue Reading

“Convenient” Prison To North Minneapolis Connection Draws Boos For Rep. Newberger

 Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker) is against more funding for Minnesota’s North Star rail, a line that was originally supposed to go between Minneapolis and St. Cloud but has yet to be extended that far. During debate on a transportation bill Newberger said he’s against expanding the route because the tracks would go near St. Cloud’s prison.“Boy, wouldn’t that be convenient, to have that rail line going from the prison to North Minneapolis,” said Newberger. After hearing some grumbling he quickly added, “or to any section of our state.” Boos were heard in the House chamber.North Minneapolis is a neighborhood with a racially diverse population.Newberger quickly apologized for naming North Minneapolis, “but that’s what came into my mind. Continue Reading

New contract with Allina hospitals sets $15 minimum wage

MINNEAPOLISAs thousands of low-wage workers and allies demonstrate this week for a $15 per hour minimum wage, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members at Allina Hospitals ratified a new three-year contract that establishes a $15 per hour minimum wage for the first time for workers at seven hospitals across the Twin Cities region, including in Shakopee and Buffalo. “At a time when more and more jobs are low-wage jobs that cannot even begin to support a family, our new contract shows that a $15 per hour minimum wage is possible because we achieved it for all of our members at seven hospitals,” said Paula Lindquist, a scheduling coordinator at Buffalo Hospital. “We are an example of the power of workers coming together to improve wages, benefits, quality of services and the future of our communities.” “For lab assistants like me, this is our first union contract and I will see a $5 per hour raise to more than $15 per hour, and better benefits,” said Tigist Tefera of Abbott-Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, whose job classification joined SEIU Healthcare Minnesota last year. “This will mean a better life for us and our families, and all workers deserve the same.” The contract provides employment security protections as well as additional health and safety protections for workers. It includes a wage increase in every year of the contract for all members, an increase in Allina’s contribution towards the members’ pension plan, and a 25 percent increase in the amount of tuition reimbursement available to all members annually. The new agreement also takes a significant step towards equal pay for equal work for workers at Allina hospitals outside the metro region, the union said.“We provide the same excellent quality care and service to our patients in Owatonna as our fellow union members do in Minneapolis and Saint Paul,” said Deb Dodds, an environmental services aide at Owatonna Hospital, “so I am glad to see that we are closing the pay equity gap for hospital workers outside the metro area, but we have more progress to make.” Coming on the heels of a new contract for 3,000 hospital workers at eight other Twin Cities hospitals – including Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, Fairview Health Services, HealthEast Care System, North Memorial Health Care, and Park Nicollet Health Services (recently merged into HealthPartners) – over 99.5 percent of the workers in 16 hospitals covered by these contracts will have a $15 per hour minimum compensation. “This contract is a step forward for every union member, but there is a lot more that we need to do to improve patient care in our hospitals,” said Vivian Straumann, a licensed practical nurse at United Hospital in Saint Paul. “We will not stop raising the issue of staffing levels until we are satisfied that we have the right number of people to keep ourselves, our patients and our hospitals safe. Continue Reading

Transition at the Daily Planet

After more than a decade of working to give voice to underrepresented communities, Jeremy Iggers will be stepping down as Executive Director of the Twin Cities Media Alliance (TCMA) on May 6. A founder of the organization and its flagship local news website, the Twin Cities Daily Planet, Jeremy helped grow the organization from a training ground for citizen journalists to a hub for media classes and trainings for individuals, nonprofits, and small businesses. The board of directors would like to sincerely thank Jeremy for his creative vision and tireless work for so many years. Leading the organization through its next stage of development will be board member Adaobi Okolue, who will cede her board voting position and step in as Executive Director effective May 7. A writer and marketing strategist, Adaobi is also the founder and owner of Coloring Circles, a marketing studio in Minneapolis that works with organizations, small businesses, and creative entrepreneurs who empower people and community. Continue Reading

The Cut: A film about the Armenian Genocide and its Minnesota connection

Editor’s Note: This is second in a series of Minneapolis Saint Paul International Film Festival “citizen reviews”. This one comes on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide that took place in the waning days of the Ottoman empire in Turkey. The review of The Cut comes from Lou Ann Matossian, who has been working to raise awareness about Armenians who survived and the events leading up to the Armenian Genocide. She also helped director Faith Akin scout locations here in Minnesota, where some of the events in the film take place. In this article, Lou Ann explores the film’s Minnesota connections“Once upon a time / Once upon no time”—the opening words of The Cut evoke a storyteller’s traditional formula in both Armenian and Turkish. Continue Reading

Sing Our Rivers Red raises awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women

The smell of roasting espresso and justified indignation greeted visitors of the Pow Wow Coffee shop, and adjoining All My Relations art gallery on Friday, April 10th. In collaboration with the Sing Our Rivers Red (SORR) foundation, All My Relations Arts and the Native American Community Development Institute are asking people to donate earrings a part of the SORR Traveling Earring Exhibition. SORR is a foundation dedicated to raising awareness for missing Native American women in Canada and the U.S. Event organizer Susan Horne detailed an example in the death of “August Osage County” actress Misty Upham.“She went missing, and the police questioned her personal state of mind more than they spent time actually looking for her. When the coroner finally released the report, it was ruled a homicide due to blunt force to the back of the head.“Since then, they haven’t covered that it was a homicide, that she was ultimately killed. And it’s stuff like that… this is a Native American woman, 32 years old, goes missing, nothing is accounted for. Continue Reading