Perfect pies at Comstock family’s 2014 pie baking contest

The 23 pies lined up in two straight rows on the front table at Claddagh Coffee & Café on West Seventh Street, St. Paul, had names as alluring as the pies themselves:

Strawberry Butter Cream, Caramel Chocolate Supreme, Reese’s Cup, Root Beer Float, Cherry Berry, Almond Joy Coconut, Salty Jack O’Lantern, Sweet Potato Eggnog, a green grape concoction called Minnesota Pie (According to the New York Times) and one named Black Pie Day—an apple pie made with cinnamon red hots and a mix of red, green and blue food coloring that gave the pastry and its filling the same color as the pie’s moniker. This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Park Bugle. Check out the links below for other recent Park Bugle stories:

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Left: The pie contest moved out of the family home this year and into Claddagh Coffee & Café, where more than 50 people gathered for the Nov. 28 event. Continue Reading

Mizna shares artistic and literary contributions of Arab-Americans

Picture an ill-assorted group of urban dwellers who escape their stifling daily lives by spending their evenings smoking, drinking and joking, passengers aboard a houseboat as it floats down the River Nile under a jeweled sky. It sounds like a movie, and in fact it is a scene from a classic Egyptian film based on Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz’s novel Adrift on the Nile. It’s also a cinematic representation of an aspect of Arab life that doesn’t get much traction in the American popular imagination. Whatever else can be said about it, the scene couldn’t be farther from the standard Hollywood version of wild-eyed Arab terrorists. And that’s the point. Continue Reading

MSP airport workers win paid sick leave

Workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport will qualify for paid sick leave under a new policy adopted Monday by the Metropolitan Airports Commission. The decision is being hailed as a groundbreaking move that will benefit thousands of workers. “This is a big step forward for workers at the airport,” said Ahmed Ahmed, a wheelchair agent for Air Serv, who addressed commissioners before the vote. Covered employees will accrue one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked. Continue Reading

The curious case of luxury student housing

The American gentrification story will sound familiar to many: A historic neighborhood, home to traditionally transit-oriented apartments and modest single family homes, slowly becomes destitute and outdated as the automobile era drives population away from city centers. The neighborhood becomes derelict and neglected, but eventually, the bohemian counterculture — the artists, performers, musicians, and designers of a creative class — occupies and slowly kindles mainstream interest back into the area. Aside from retired, amenity-seeking empty nesters moving back into urban areas, most of these newcomers are young adults. There is a trend in these urban population shifts that is not often discussed — the study of college-aged students and their corresponding living patterns. Unlike other burgeoning urban neighborhoods, students occupy and dwell in a unique, confined location in close proximity to their college campus. Continue Reading

Michelle Gross: Police-community relations, body cams and the cooptation of the community agenda

These are interesting times.For nearly 25 years, I’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to and act on the very serious issue of police brutality, 14 of those years as part of Communities United Against Police Brutality. Mostly it’s been an uphill battle. White folks largely have responded with disbelief and the idea that the victims “must have done something to deserve it.” People of color have been much more aware of the issue but often resigned to the idea that little could be done to effectively take it on.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Now, thanks to the widespread use of video cameras and the courageous people of Ferguson, MO and elsewhere, the reality of police brutality is finally coming home in ways that are undeniable to anyone with a TV set. As cities explode in widespread unrest, public officials on all levels are forced to at least act as if they are interested in addressing the issue.Now, along comes Obama. Continue Reading

Ending racism in policing begins with the Red Tent

I was talking to Jose at work the other day about the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the lack of indictments on the police officers who killed them. We both are appalled how it went down. While I’ve experience abuse of power at the hands of the police just a few times, Jose has had many negative, unprovoked, experiences in which the prejudice of the officer was the cause for the encounter and the tone of the exchange. As we talked I tried to make the point that while the officers are responsible for their actions the blame also is also on our culture and the police system that trained them. In part, they only did what they were raised to believe and trained to do. Continue Reading

OPINION | Shut up and work: The question of free speech on the job

“Discussing political views is not advisable.” This 1905 rule for Iowa teachers apparently also applies to Delta Air Lines workers in 2014. The Story County, Iowa, teaching contract was explicit in saying teachers should not talk politics — or loiter in ice cream parlors, play cards, dance, or indulge in “undue use of cosmetics.” While the code of conduct for teachers seems antiquated and laughable, the continuing right of employers to control workers’ speech and conduct, on and off the job, is no laughing matter. On Dec. Continue Reading

It’s a wonderful life: Jeffers detects gubernatorial ambitions in Tom Bakk’s food shelf fundraiser

Call it Scrooge meets Frank Underwood. In a headnote to a Facebook sharing of Bakk event raises $100,000 for northeastern Minnesota food shelves, a MinnPost article based on a Hunger Solutions’s press release, radio talk show host and 2006 Republican gubernatorial challenger Sue Jeffers discerned gubernatorial ambitions in Minnesota Senate Majority leader Tom Bakk’s hosting of a fundraiser for Arrowhead Region foodshelves:
Sounds like something a guy who might be interested in running for governor might do huh? Here’s a screenshot:

This article is reposted from TCDP media partner Bluestem Prairie. Check out the links below for other recent Bluestem Prairie stories:

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A Brief History of the Fundraiser

Bakk, who has sponsored the fundraiser for eight years, first announced in 2008 that he was seeking the 2010 DFL endorsement for governor. He withdrew from the contest in March 2010. Continue Reading