Phosphorus, pharmaceuticals, frogs, and Legacy Amendment funding for Minnesota water protection

The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in November 2008 set aside an estimated $80 million-plus dollars annually to test, protect, and restore lakes and rivers in Minnesota. With funding from the tax revenue starting to kick in this year, some citizens wonder where that money is going towards for clean up and restoration efforts. State Rep. Jean Wagenius, who chairs the Environment and Natural Resources Finance Division in the Minnesota House, helped shed some light on the numerous and varied efforts funded by the amendment during an April 6 forum on urban water pollution. The discussion was one of a series of talks organized by the Minneapolis League of Women Voters along with local environmental groups to highlight water pollution issues and solutions in Minnesota. Wagenius early on pointed out that the legislature had to quickly set up new standards and measurements for the health of state rivers and lakes, given many standards had not been updated since the federal Clean Water Act was signed into law in the 1970s. Continue Reading

Haiti earthquake leads to Hamline Creole class

Two students running late timidly enter the doorway of this basement classroom at Hamline University and search for available seats. They are the last of the stragglers who’ve packed into the overflowing space, lured by the opportunity to learn Haitian Creole, the primary language of Haiti. Instructor Max Adrien acknowledges the late-comers with a smile and wonders aloud if they should move into a larger classroom. After a brief pause to gauge the class sentiment, everyone seems content to squeeze into the existing space so as to not risk slowing the momentum of the day’s lesson. With the minor logistical matter settled, Adrien smiles with satisfaction and launches back into his lively review of Haitian greetings. 

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VISUAL ARTS | At Augsburg, photographs depict the Karen community “With Our Eyes”

Proving that art can bridge disparate cultures, With Our Eyes is a compelling series of photos that emerged from a collaborative effort between Augsburg College students paired up with high school students from the local Karen community. The young artists from both groups came together again on March 5 to celebrate the opening of the photo exhibit as part of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum held at Augsburg College over the weekend. (See related article: Nobel laureate offers advice for peacemakers at Augsburg College.) 
The Karen students dressed up in traditional hsay mo wah (light-colored dresses with colorful decorations) and hsay blo (men’s jackets with bright red stripes) and joined Augsburg students in proudly showing off their black and white photographs that lined the gallery walls. 19-year-old Thudoe Heh said she was excited to learn how to do photography, despite never really picking up a camera before this experience. She said she was surprised at how her own pictures looked after they were framed and hung on the gallery wall. Continue Reading

Yinghua New Year in Minneapolis

While most schools might have ended their week celebrating Valentine’s Day or President’s Day, the students at Yinghua Academy were busy putting on a dazzling Chinese New Year’s performance for their families. The Chinese immersion charter public school welcomed the Year of the Tiger on Friday with dances, skits, and musical performances involving all 300-plus students. 

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