Groundswell Coffee’s big new deals in St. Paul: $5 or $1,000?

Talk about a bottomless cup — at Groundswell Coffee in the Hamline Midway neighborhood they’re taking it to extremes. $1000 buys you membership in the Founder’s Club, and one free beer, glass of wine, or cup of brewed coffee every day for the rest of your life.“There were two things we wanted to accomplish,” says co-owner Seth McCoy, “raise the build-out capital, and engage in some good, old down-home, grass-roots fundraising.” McCoy figures it would take about three years of daily beverages for your investment to pay off.Groundswell, located at the corner of Hamline and Thomas in St. Paul, intends to expand both their space and their menu. Now that Borealis Yarns has vacated its adjoining space, Groundswell plans to extend their seating area into the entire commercial space on the southwest corner of the intersection. A new bakery and additional kitchen facilities will allow them to offer a larger selection of their signature robust local foods.When Groundswell opened in December 2009, McCoy and partner Tim Gilbert were the fourth owners of the coffee shop in eight years. Continue Reading

Gun debate: Snowed out at Schiff breakfast meeting?

A flurry of Facebook and E-Democracy forums forecast a heated debate at Minneapolis City Councilperson Gary Schiff’s monthly breakfast last Friday. About 40 people slogged through the snow for the February 22 event at Mercado Central, but the promised gun controversy failed to materialize.

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St. Thomas worms eat coffee in St. Paul

Eisenia fetida is having a fine winter in the University of Saint Thomas greenhouse. The worms, commonly called red wigglers, are housed in bins, on beds of coffee grounds. It’s part of a food-waste recycling demonstration overseen by biology professor, Dr. Chester Wilson.Pigs have dibs on most university cafeteria leftovers. Thanks to Ramsey County’s Food to Animals program, a healthy share of all school lunch toss-outs are diverted to feeding swine. With hefty taxes heaped on hauling costs, reducing garbage volume helps school bottom-lines.Porkers do have their epicurean limits. Continue Reading

MN VOICES | Joan Pasiuk: Biking to work and thinking about parking

They start ticketing on Dale at four o’clock, Joan Pasiuk warns me. One avenue over though, I’ll probably find a spot. We’re making arrangements to meet at the St. Paul offices of Transit for Livable Communities, where she directs their successful Bike Walk Twin Cities program. It’s surprisingly solid parking advice from a woman who has been biking to work since the 1970s. Continue Reading

MN VOICES | Gada Roba: From refugee and runaway to honored community leader

The teenager would not get out of Gada Roba’s car. He had seen the people drinking as they waited outside the homeless shelter. The youth was Muslim and had never been around people who were drinking. Threatened at home, the immigrant student had approached his teacher, Roba for help. But he was too frightened to stay at the shelter and insisted Roba drop him off on Lake Street. Continue Reading

MN VOICES | Noya Woodrich, a new leader but old friend for the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches

It’s going to be a short move for Noya Woodrich on July 3, just down the hall to her new corner office. That’s the day she’ll take over as President and CEO of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC) from Rev. Gary Reierson who retires after 23 years at the post. She’ll be both the first woman and the first American Indian to head the 107-year-old organization; even so, the change is more evolution than revolution.

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MN VOICES | Dr. Anton Treuer: Author, educator, linguist

Anton Treuer had paid the repair bill and was headed to the lot to pick up his car when the mechanic called after him, “Miigwech!” For Dr. Treuer, a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, being thanked in that language by a non-native speaker represented a measure of progress. His mission is ambitious – to revive the indigenous tongue.The local Target, a coffee shop, the hospital: 120 Bemidji area businesses now post bilingual signs. For tourists, the Ojibwe words make this corner of northern Minnesota a mite more exotic. For residents of the three nearby reservations, Red Lake, White Earth and Leech Lake, they signal renewed respect. In Beltrami County, relations between the groups have at times been strained. Continue Reading

“Bravest Woman in Afghanistan” speaks Friday in Minneapolis

March did not come in like a lamb in Afghanistan. On the first day of the month, in the northeastern province of Kunar, ten boys aged seven to twelve were shot while gathering wood. Nine died. According to the surviving child, two attack helicopters picked them off “one by one.” A NATO spokesperson called the incident a “terrible mistake” caused by “miscommunication” with helicopter crews.Friday, April 1, 7 p.m.Malalai Joya: “Ten Years Into the U.S. War: An Evening with the ‘the Bravest Woman in Afghanistan'”St. Continue Reading