Report calls attention to rising prevalence of children in kinship care, argues for policies to support caregivers

Family members are increasingly stepping up to take in the children of parents in their extended families who cannot do so. Who are these families? Who are the children? What are their needs and their challenges? The Annie E. Casey Foundation has published a comprehensive report that answers these questions, and provides more information about this expanding family structure in America.The report indicates there is a growing trend across the country of grandparents, uncles and aunts, adult siblings, godparents and family friends stepping up and into parental roles to provide kinship care for needy children, both informally through extended families or formally through state-supervised foster care. “Kinship care” means the care of children by relatives or close friends of a family when parents are unable to do so and are not present. Continue Reading

Protesters at Beth El demand jail for former President Bush

About 100-125 protesters attended a vigil dedicated to raising awareness about detainees and victims of “enhanced interrogation” a/k/a torture, on September 21. The vigil was held outside Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, where former president George W. Bush was speaking. The synagogue offered for sale 250 tickets ranging from silver to platinum level ($1,200 – $3,600) for an evening with Bush.  The non-violent vigil, sponsored by WAMM (Women Against Military Madness) Tackling Torture at the Top (T3) Committee, attracted a wide variety of participants – high schoolers, senior citizens, peace activists (including Veterans for Peace) and concerned and interested citizens. Groups of protesters held signs and banners near the street corners where traffic entered and exited the parking lot to the synagogue.  Some donned orange jumpsuits and others wore black hoods, to identify with prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere.Protesters were kept behind police and state trooper barricades.  Drivers slowing to shout and swear verbally accosted several protesters holding banners at the street corners.  One driver angrily yelled “Go back to Russia, assholes” as he thrust his middle finger at them.  A protester holding a large sign that read, “ARREST BUSH FOR WAR CRIMES” said that while a handful of drivers yelled at them, the majority of people who drove by honked their horns and gave them a “thumbs up” for support.The vigil finished in the dark, with a core of protesters chanting “Shame, shame” when the event attendees left the synagogue after 7:30 p.m.Vigil attendees carried signs, posters and banners that stated their opinions of Bush and opposition to his war policy of using torture: “Arrest Bush;” “Torture’s Not Kosher;” “Caution: War Criminal;” “Prosecute Torture Endorsers;” “Torture Doesn’t Work;” “Torture Destroys All;” “Silence Is Complicity.”“Not all the synagogue members knew Bush was coming,” protester Robert Cuthbertson said.  “Many didn’t support his presence there.”Cuthbertson said that he and a couple of other guys flew kites with protest messages at the synagogue last Saturday, and that people from the synagogue told them it was disrespectful to be political during their worship.  He said he told them, “We say the decision to bring politics to this synagogue was brought by your own inviting of Bush.  We began protesting early so people would get up in arms and stop this [Bush appearance] from happening – not trying to be disrespectful.”Wearing an orange jumpsuit and BSM hat, Kevin Smith, a 1975 graduate of Benilde-St. Continue Reading

A new home for St. Paul’s acclaimed Avalon School

Avalon School has moved from its ten-year location across from the Midway YMCA (University and Wheeler) to its new location, 700 Glendale Street, just southwest of Raymond and University Avenues. It has entered into a ten-year lease at its new location, which is a build-out project nearing completion.Avalon is an independent public charter school with a middle school and high school comprising grades 7-12.  It will begin its new, 11th school year on September 6th. Its inaugural enrollment in 2001 was 120 students in grades 9-12. It added a middle school in 2005. Its 2011-2012 student body of 160 high school and 25 middle school students are primarily from St. Continue Reading