Local journalists weigh in on the future of news

Has the internet swallowed up newspaper readership? What is the future of news? What exactly is news? Local journalists tackled these questions and more on November 3, during the Twin Cities Media Alliance’s 2007 Annual Citizen Media Forum, ‘Life After Newspapers: Challenges and Opportunities for News Media and the Public.’ Keynote speaker Robert McChesney of Free Press joined two panels of media professionals in the all day event, which also included afternoon workshops. Continue Reading

Cristo Rey students gain life skills in and out of the classroom

The Cristo Rey high school means business—and that includes putting students to work at local businesses. It’s Halloween and fourteen-year old Juan Jose is dressed in a slick red button-down shirt and black dress pants. At four o’clock, he’ll get his party, but other than a homemade tree with orange lights in the school library, it’s business as usual at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. Cristo Rey first opened its doors in September to a batch of ninth graders looking for an alternative to the Minneapolis Public Schools. A longer school day, professional dress code and mandatory internship attracted 95 students this year. Continue Reading

Korean Quarterly to celebrate tenth anniversary at Augsburg College

When Martha Vickery adopted her Korean daughter back in 1990, she and her husband Steve Wunrow had no idea that they would one day become the voice of the Korean American community in Minnesota. Seventeen years later, the couple is celebrating the tenth anniversary of their brainchild, the Korean Quarterly, a St. Paul-based publication serving Koreans living in Minnesota and around the world. Discussion of a newspaper began back in 1997 when the couple was attending the Korean Presbyterian Church of Minnesota. “After we started knowing families in the Korean community, we realized there were serious communication problems,” said Vickery. Continue Reading

HERE project highlights the Korean adoption experience in Minnesota

For twenty year-old Plymouth resident Emily Mader, being Korean and adopted in Minnesota hasn’t always been easy. Although she now feels at peace with her identity, she says that her adoption process has been an ‘up and down rollercoaster.’ Growing up with Caucasian parents and brother often left her feeling alienated, different and searching for excuses about herself. “I would get picked up from school and had to explain myself as to why my parents didn’t look like me,” says Mader, “I felt ashamed of being Korean.”
Like Mader, many Korean adoptees have struggled with identity issues. Kim Dalros, the art director of the Korean Quarterly, decided a few years ago to tackle the large project of giving a voice to the some 13,000 Korean adoptees in Minnesota. Continue Reading

Hearing on Atrazine raises questions about use in Minnesota

‘Save the Sperm! Ban Atrazine!’ That was the call from Rep. Ken Tschumper during a press conference before a Minnesota Senate hearing on Atrazine and public health. Atrazine, public health and scientific integrity were the topics for a Minnesota Senate hearing on October 10. Groups of environmentalists met for a press conference prior to the hearing to call for the reinstatement of former Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) employee and environmental whistleblower Paul Wotzka. Continue Reading

Educators discuss troublesome aspects of NCLB

Sharon Radd claims that public education in the U.S. has manipulated marginalized populations and has become privatized, imperialized and consumer-driven. “Listen for all the market language in the NCLB [No Child Left Behind] legislation,” says Radd, “You hear words such as ‘competition,’ ‘efficiency’ and ‘personal responsibility.’ I think that’s what makes NCLB really problematic.”
Radd, a public educator for 18 years, a Bush Fellow and a current doctoral candidate at the University of St. Thomas, was part of a panel speaking to the educators, policy makers and activists who met at Hamline University’s Klas Center on October 11. Other panel members were Dr. Michael Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Delores Henderson, an educator in the St. Paul public schools for 33 years and winner of the Minnesota National Distinguished Principal award in 1991. Continue Reading

Whistleblower Wotzka, legislators and researcher put Atrazine back in spotlight

Paul Wotzka was a low-profile hydrologist, employed by the state of Minnesota, until he was fired in March after speaking out against atrazine, a widely-used herbicide. Since then he has been in the spotlight. “For 16 years, I worked in this area with groups of fisherman and farmers. We never got much publicity,” he says, “So, now, it’s different to get calls for interviews.”
Wotzka is concerned that atrazine, a herbicide used on many cornfields, has been found in storm water runoff and streams, including Southeast Minnesota’s Whitewater River, and could affect not only the surrounding wildlife but also the drinking water of residents. He was employed for years by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and then went to work for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2005. Continue Reading

High School IB programs await change in Minneapolis

High school is hard. Choosing a high school, however, is proving even harder. Magnet, Open, AP, IB, Cosmetology, Arts and Humanities…the list goes on and on. Then, there are the issues of attendance area, pathway schools and oversubscription. How is a parent or child supposed to make an educated decision? Continue Reading

‘Dots and Feathers’ explores identity and culture

Using dance, music and spoken verse, ‘Dots and Feathers’ attempts to bring to life the issues of race and identity in the Asian Indian and Native American communities, creating a bridge between the two cultures. Katha Dance Theater, in collaboration with area artists, presents, “Dots and Feathers,” this weekend at the O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul. “Dots and Feathers” on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $24 for adults and $15 for students and children, with special rates for groups, MPR members and seniors. Continue Reading

Hiawatha Leadership Academy plans to close the achievement gap one student at a time

At Hiawatha Leadership Academy (HLA), students, parents and teachers alike are aware of the clear bottom line. Staff will do whatever it takes for student success and if students aren’t learning, the school needs to change. These and several other criteria are part of Hiawatha’s contract, which each student and parent must sign before the start of the school year. In Principal Shoua Moua’s office, the list of rules is written clearly in bright red pen: “No excuses—don’t even think about a blame game when students aren’t learning.” These no-nonsense guidelines are setting a promising pace for this one-month old Minneapolis charter school. HLA, located at 4537 3rd Avenue South in Minneapolis, is one of the newest Minneapolis charter schools. Continue Reading