Under the Census microscope: Africans and African-Americans in Minnesota

Minnesota’s Black or African American population has grown steadily throughout the decades, but it still accounts for a small percentage of the population of the state, which is nearly 90 percent white. 
Information from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) shows a young, urban population that lags behind the state’s total population in terms of income, unemployment, poverty and home-ownership. In education, however, African Americans are on par or higher with the state’s rates of high school/early college graduation and college enrollment. In the 2006-2008 ACS for Minnesota, 225,648 Minnesotans were identified as “Black or African American.” More than 90 percent lived in the metro area (Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area). Continue Reading

Under the Census microscope: Immigrant Minnesotans

A look at the origins of Minnesotans born in other countries reveals a tapestry of an estimated 339,680 foreign-born Minnesotans from around the globe.A country of birth table from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Community Survey for the years 2006-2008 reported an estimated 339,680 foreign-born Minnesotans. They accounted for 6.6 percent of the state’s population, and 8.8 percent of the people living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area (roughly the Twin Cities metro area). Nationally, 12.5 percent of the country is foreign-born.Of Minnesota’s immigrant population, 146,976 (43 percent) were naturalized U.S. citizens. They have come to this country steadily over the decades – 36.5 percent entered the U.S. in the last decade, 32.5 entered during the 1990s, and the other 31 percent entered the country before 1990.The largest populations by region or country of birth were from Southeastern Asia, Latin America (especially Mexico) and Eastern Africa. Continue Reading

Decision on downtown garbage burner increase postponed

A new round of public debate on a proposed increase in the amount of garbage burned in Downtown Minneapolis at the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) ended before it began on July 23.Hennepin County and Covanta, which operates the burner, at the last minute postponed their appeal to the city’s Zoning and Planning Committee to overrule the Minneapolis Planning Commission’s June 22 denial of the increase. The matter will now go to the MPCA, as Covanta undergoes the re-permitting process, which could require further environmental review — something opponents of the burner have asked for.Covanta had asked for a conditional use permit from the city to burn an extra 212 tons per day (TPD) of garbage, at the burner’s maximum capacity of 1,212 TPD. HERC’s existing permit allows for 1,000 TPD. See also REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK | HERC: Burn, baby, burn?In a 6–2 vote on June 22, the Planning Commission went against city staff recommendation to allow the permit, on the grounds that the increase “could be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, comfort or general welfare;” … “could be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the vicinity and … could impede the normal or orderly development and improvement of surrounding property for uses permitted in the district.”City Councilmember Gary Schiff (Ward 9), who chairs the committee, noted during the July 23 meeting that the Planning Commission had an issue with considering the increase without a permit and environmental review.According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the permit for the burner did expire in May 2003 but is considered “extended” because Covanta applied for its reissuance in November 2002. (Carolina Schutt, a supervisor in the MPCA’s permit division, cited several reasons for the agency’s “backlog of permits,” including the number of permits to be reviewed; changes in the state and federal rules, and new pollutants to be studied, which add to the complexity of the permitting process; staff turnover; and the increased involvement by citizens and environmental groups — which is “welcomed,” she added.)In terms of permission to increase the amount of garbage burned, Covanta needs only to apply for a “capacity extension,” said Schutt. While this would require only partial public review, she said the MPCA will open the facility’s full permit for review. Continue Reading

Roundabouts, signals among alternatives for Franklin, East River Parkway makeover

Prospect Park and Seward residents and area commuters got their first look last week at a number of early ideas for fixing the five-legged intersection at the east end of the Franklin Avenue bridge. Jim Grube, project manager for Hennepin County, and consultants from Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) presented a number of possibilities — from a no-build scenario to the introduction of traffic circles or tunnels and bridges — at the second of three open houses on the subject. Elected officials at the open house included Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Ward 2 City Council Member Cam Gordon and representatives from the mayor’s office. Attendees of the full-house forum at St. Francis Cabrini Church in Prospect Park had many questions and concerns for the facilitators. Continue Reading

A look back at 40 years of neighborhood news

Even as we head into an uncertain yet exciting future, it is with heavy heart that we put to rest The Bridge newspaper, the final (for now, at least) descendant of a 40-year history of community print journalism in South and Southeast Minneapolis. In April 1969, the Seward Neighborhood Group (SNG) published the first Seward neighborhood newsletter; the next month, the second issue announced that sisters and Seward School students Cheri and Karey Getz had won the naming contest. Their submission: the Seward Profile. In this — the first of a week-long series, beginning Monday, of remembrances of The Bridge and its predecessor newspapers — Editor Jeremy Stratton tours the archives, speaks with former Southeast editor Ted Tucker and finds some constants in the changing landscape over the past 40 years. Six years later, on the other side of the river, a newspaper called Southeast published its first issue in the spring of 1975. Continue Reading

CityKid Java serves U students, urban youth

Zulianna Speltz had never had a job until she joined the staff of CityKid Java, which opened in January inside the University of Minnesota’s Carslon School of Management, 321 19th Ave. S.The 16-year-old Speltz, from Northeast Minneapolis, came to the café through Urban Ventures, a Minneapolis nonprofit that helps kids, adults and families with boot-strap assistance like afterschool programs, activities, jobs, education, meals and a host of other things. (Learn more about Urban Ventures at www.urbanventures.org.)
CityKid Java CaféCarlson School of Management321 19th Ave. S.Open Monday–Thursday, 4 p.m.–8:30 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 2 p.m.–6 p.m.
The CityKid café is an expansion of Urban Ventures’ existing partnership with ARAMARK, which provides dining services at 35 U of M locations, including residence halls and buildings like the Carlson School. Since 2007, ARAMARK has donated food — unsold at its campus locations but still good — that ARAMARK uses for its twice-weekly “People’s Exchange” meals. Continue Reading

BOOKS | “The Grass” speaks of memory and forgetting

In the fall of 2004, when asked what he would do with his imminent retirement, then-City Council Member Paul Zerby said he planned to finish his novel about the Korean War. (Full disclosure: I read Zerby’s early draft as a favor and returned it, as requested, with a lot of red editor’s marks. The only advice I remember giving was that, being a former lawyer, most of Zerby’s sentences — and therefore the book — were a third too long.)
More than four years later, Zerby’s The Grass, a finalist for the 2008 Bellwether Prize, has been published by North Star Press of St. Cloud. The story follows young protagonist Tom Kelly through personal rites of passage and recollects America’s “forgotten war” in Korea. Continue Reading

Farmers’ markets kick off 2009 season

The Midtown and Mill City farmers’ markets open for the season in early May. On Saturday, May 2, Midtown begins its seventh — and possibly final — season at 2225 E. Lake, the parking lot of Anishinabe Academy. A week later, the Mill City market opens in Downtown East at 704 S. Second St., next to the Guthrie Theater. Mill City opening events and offerings include a free market shopping bag, sponsored by Target; a “mini-farm” with roosters, hens, and maybe some spring farm babies; a cooking demo of spring recipes; and live guitar and violin music, sponsored by MOSAIC. Kids can paint pots and plant a flower while supplies last. Continue Reading

Talking pictures with Wing Young Huie

A moss-stained, vine-draped wall creates the illusion of water reflected. A steel-eyed sheepdog gazes intently from the side of a mountain road. An enormous, pale-skinned woman lies beached on the Mexican sand as vendors kneel around her, offering jewelry and gigantic cocktails. Olympic divers become a swirl of brilliant color on a television screen. Empty parking ramps reveal their architectural secrets, taking on surreal shapes and geometric forms in black-and-white contrast. Continue Reading

Local farmers, consumers spring into action

The spring thaw enlivens not only the soil but thoughts of planting and growing things in it. It’s also a time to ramp up, register for or donate to a host of local food and produce programs, through which regional farmers bring fresh food and produce to the tables of local consumers or the less fortunate, who would otherwise go without. Below is a rundown of some events, programs and other information about how to make those local fresh-food connections. Seward Co-op CSA Fair and grand opening celebration
On Saturday, April 25 — rain or shine — the Seward Co-op will hold its annual Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Fair, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., under a tent in the parking lot outside the store at 2823 E. Franklin Ave. CSA farms and dropoff sites in Bridgeland
The Land Stewardship Project’s map of Twin Cities dropoff sites lists eight locations in the Bridge coverage area:
Prospect ParkPhiladelphia Community Farm112 Seymour Ave. Continue Reading