Residents respond to railroad “pipeline on wheels”

Two years ago on July 6, an oil train explosion in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killed 47 people, and to prevent a similar catastrophe from occurring in Minnesota, Citizens Acting for Rail Safety-Twin Cities (CARS-TC) held a press conference in St. Paul on Tuesday, July 7, to address this threat in the Twin Cities. “There’s been some good, some bad and some ugly,” Representative Frank Hornstein said, commenting on the progress between railroads and public safety. CARS-TC hosted the “Minnesota in the Blast Zone” press conference on July 7. The press conference glossed over the danger of railroads in the Twin Cities and gave a legislative update on rail safety and a critical evaluation on the railroad industry’s response. Continue Reading

Representative Keith Ellison talks with community about rail safety

Representative of the Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, Keith Ellison, had an informal talk with citizens at the Lutheran Social Service, Center for Changing Lives in Minneapolis on Thursday, May 28. “At my congressional office we really do regard you as our partners,” Ellison said at the event. “If we are not serving you as well as we should be, we want to know about it because we are not afraid of getting better.”

Ellison said that listening to people and arguing on their behalf at the national level at Congress is his top priority. The topics discussed included prosperity for working families, reforms in the juvenile criminal justice system and an update on rail safety in Minnesota. One member in attendance asked if there would be reforms in the juvenile criminal justice system to prevent the youths from being trapped in the cycle where they’d continuously be on the streets. Continue Reading

Circus Juventas student wows in a new show

Eighteen year-old Freddy McConnell from Bloomington is a high school senior at Cyber Village Academy in St. Paul and a performer at Circus Juventas, a youth performing arts after school program teaching students anywhere from ages 4-22 circus skills. Each year, they hold their annual spring shows before their premiere summer shows in August. McConnell performed in the Blue Show for Circus Juventas’s Spring Show. This week, he will perform in the Purple Show for Circus Juventas as he will be in acts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this weekend (May 7-9). Continue Reading

Her dream came true: Meet Husna Ibrahim

When Husna Ibrahim stuck her hand inside the envelope and pulled out her acceptance letter for the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, her life’s dream came true. “Every day just being able to say that you go to the University of Minnesota and walking up and saying ‘oh my gosh, I’m a college student.’ That’s a huge deal,” Ibrahim said.  
Ibrahim is currently a sophomore student at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and is an alumnus of Project SUCCESS, a program that showed her college was possible.  
Ibrahim was originally born and raised in South Africa. Growing up, her mother wanted her and her four sisters to be independent and educated. Continue Reading

Mayor Coleman focuses State of the City on ending disparities, education, and development

Mayor Chris Coleman, in his 10th annual State of the City Address on April 16, discussed his mission to lower disparities between people of color, making better use of parcels and supporting local artists so St. Paul is known as the city of music in 2016. “The higher purpose for our city and region must be to ensure that which to the best of our community is shared by all within our community,” Mayor Coleman said. Focusing on Education:”We can say that we’re the most educated city. For that’s certainly true for many residents,” he said, “but that wouldn’t honestly reflect the fact that so many of our children are falling behind and that the Twin Cities is a community with one of the largest achievement gaps in the country.” Mayor Coleman did say he was pleased with the progress of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood, which is the program aimed to set a new standard for approaching education and family stability. The program works within the community to help with education and has been implemented in communities in Frogtown and Summit University. “The Promise Neighborhood Partners rolled up their sleeves, reached out to over 600 families to help shape the work, and proceeded to build a network of support for children and families that is showcasing how to stop talking about closing the achievement gap and actually move the needle in the right direction,” he said. He overviewed some the success of Jackson Preparatory Magnet School, an elementary school in St. Paul, and spoke of their recent accomplishments. Mayor Coleman announced the school increased in terms of the percentage of students who enroll there live in that community, it’s up to 85 percent where in the past it was at four percent. Continue Reading

‘We can’t do this without you!’ Mayor Hodges sets her agenda in State of the City address

“One Minneapolis” was the central theme in Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’s State of the City Address on April 2, at the American Swedish Institute, where she discussed how the community working together can address challenges the city of Minneapolis is currently facing.“The genius we have now, right here, will make us the great city of the 21st century if we are willing to do what it takes to make sure we leave none of that genius on the table,” Hodges said.In her second State of the City Address, Hodges made a call-to-action to encourage community leaders to become graduation coaches for young men. She wants to narrow the gap between low-income and middle class families through collective bargaining in the private sector. She wants to raise the minimum wage and launch the Minneapolis Climate Champs Challenge, which will provide steps and tips as to how citizens in Minneapolis can help stop climate change.“Minneapolis, the question before us now is how much genius are we going to leave on the table?” Hodges asked.Hodges set her sights on early education, bridging the divide when it comes to income inequality and addresses climate change.Education In order to efficiently use the genius of people in the community, Hodges said it starts when a child in the community is young. When it comes to youth development, Hodges cited the fact that 80% of a person’s brain is developed by the age of 3.“What we do for our kids early on matters,” Hodges said.The city will budget $1 million for housing so many children who are low-income, could have stable living conditions. She said the focus on child development is to make sure they are ready for the workforce; however, she also wants them to be engaged in their community.“We need our kids to be more than workforce ready, we needs kids who are ready to build one Minneapolis. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull a lot to like at Target Center

“Baby I like it,” is not just a line from Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull’s hit “I Like It,” it was also my impression when I left the Target Center on Saturday, February 21. Cricket Wireless Presents Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull tour made their final stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Opening for the two artists was Colombian music artist J Balvin. J Balvin did his thing and impressed me with his bangers and the stunts his dance crew performed as they were flipping all over the place to the tune of Latino music. He did his part in getting the crowd on their feet and Pitbull took it to another level when he made his entrance. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | “I Love Lucy: Live on Stage” a classic at the State Theatre

Minneapolis’s State Theatre took the time machine back to the early 1950s for a live studio recording in Los Angeles for back-to-back episodes of the classic CBS hit sitcom I Love Lucy.Actress Thea Brooks and actor Euriamis Losada are a smashing resemblance of America’s favorite television couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in I Love Lucy: Live on Stage. Their nationwide tour stopped by the State Theatre in Minneapolis from Jan. 20 to Jan. 25. The theater experience in I Love Lucy: Live on Stage was unparalleled to any other play production as the show’s host, played by Mark Christopher Tracy, introduced the audience to a live recording of two episodes of I Love Lucy as they performed “The Benefit” from season one and “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined” from season three. The host took viewers inside the colorful set decorated by scenic designer Aaron Henderson and joked that viewers can finally see Lucy’s red head in color. Continue Reading