Listening and learning in St. Paul

Since November, young people and their parents, business leaders and employers, faith communities, educators and cultural communities have gathered to participate in listening sessions in St. Paul. By the beginning of February the Learning in Cities Project will have listened to over 200 community stakeholders in 30 listening sessions. Sessions have been held at places where people usually come together – Neighborhood House, Face to Face Academy, Laura Jeffrey Academy, the Aurora-St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation, St. Continue Reading

Mystery shopping scams – an expensive way to shop

A chef by trade, the St. Paul man (who asked to remain anonymous) started cooking in an on-the-job training program when he was 13 years old. After nearly 31 years as a chef, the 45-year-old North End resident was unemployed last summer and spent hours on the computer every day looking for and applying for jobs. One day a pop-up ad from a company called Retail Oversight Inc. appeared on the screen. The company, with an address in Emory, Alabama, promised applicants $300-$1000 a week as a secret shopper. Continue Reading

Saving the Victoria Theater and getting on board LRT in St. Paul

The train is coming, and one group of Frogtown and Summit-University residents and business owners is fired up to prepare for the arrival of light rail transit (LRT) on University Avenue in St. Paul. The group, organized mainly through Facebook and the e-Democracy Forum met October 21 at Rondo Community Outreach Library, with the assistance of the District 7 Thomas-Dale Planning Council and the District 8 Summit-University Planning Council. 

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They’re going to the Extreme on the West Side of St. Paul

It’s the talk of the town – Ty Pennington has brought his Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’s design team to the West Side of St. Paul, and YOU can get in the act!  Neighborhood House and the St. Paul Chapter of the American Red Cross, both located on the West Side are sponsoring an “Extreme Food Drive” and an “Extreme Blood Drive” to accompany the build.

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Cardboard Box City: Youth pledge to combat homelessness

When youth from around the state gather at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on October 15, they’ll bring their sleeping bags and toothbrushes – and big cardboard boxes. The cardboard boxes will be their home overnight. Leslie Frost is executive director of Families Moving Forward [www.familiesmoving], a non-profit that provides emergency shelter to people who are homeless or living in poverty. She said, ” This idea [of a cardboard box city] is becoming more popular as a way for youth groups and individuals to raise money and awareness of homelessness.” The theme of this year’s event is “Sleep out, Rock out, Knock out homelessness.” Continue Reading

“In the Shelter of Words” in St. Paul

“I write. It’s my secret,” the high school student said to me. He was present with other students and their guests celebrating the dedication of their art installation, In the Shelter of Words, in the atrium at Face to Face Academy.Students who attend Face to Face are teens in crisis. They may be homeless or abused, they may be mentally ill or chemically dependent. The charter school is located at 1165 Arcade Street in the Payne Phalen neighborhood of Saint Paul.Wendy Brown-Baez, the project director, said, “My mission with the installation is to create a dialogue about youth and poverty and youth and homelessness.”Brown-Baez is an artist and a performance poet. Continue Reading

Fresh greens in winter? Yes!

Chuck Waibel and his wife, Carol Ford, live in the tiny western Minnesota town of Milan, Minnesota, population 350. Throughout the winter, even in the harshest weather, they provide fresh produce to 18 families who have purchased Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member shares. These members pay $450 and receive a standard share box equal to five-eighths bushel of produce every week, beginning in September or October and running through mid-April. A share box is about one foot wide, eight inches tall, and 15 inches long. It is comparable in size to a small picnic cooler.A December 2008 share was typical, including a bag of greens, a head of cabbage, a rutabaga, a couple of pounds of carrots, some potatoes, two onions, and two butternut squash. Continue Reading