Best of Neighborhood News 10/6: Franken pushes for transgender veterans’ health


Andy Birkey with The Column reports that Sen. Al Franken, along with nine Senate Democrats and one Independent, urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to “move swiftly” to ensure all transition-related health care is covered.

Currently, the VA will not allow transgender veterans access to gender affirming surgery through the VA. The letter notes that current policy “denies transgender veterans critically important care currently available to VA civilian employees, Medicare beneficiaries and active duty service members,” the letter reads.

Read the full letter and learn more about the issue over at The Column.


Minneapolis City Council study reveals $15 minimum wage benefits

In a survey of both Hennepin and Ramsey counties, a study commissioned by the Minneapolis City Council shows that a $15 minimum wage would help workers and not harm businesses, according to a report from Barb Kucera of Workday Minnesota.

Among the study’s findings:

  • More than 71,000 workers would be immediately impacted by an increase in the minimum wage up to $15 an hour, and several thousand more by the ripple effect of raising the minimum wage;
  • Some 42 percent of black workers and 54 percent of Hispanic workers would directly benefit from a $15 an hour minimum wage, seeing income increases of 23 percent or more. Although workers of color are disproportionately affected by minimum wage, 51 percent of minimum wage workers are white and would see an annual wage increase of 19 percent.
  • Working families below the poverty line would see a 50 percent increase in their income with a $15/hour minimum wage.

Learn more about the study’s findings at Workday Minnesota.


Local film festival celebrates Black cinema in downtown St. Paul

This weekend, Oct. 6 to 9, a celebration of Black cinema and art will pop up all around downtown St. Paul with the Twin Cities Black Film Festival. From the Minnesota History Center (Oct. 6 and 9), McNally Smith School of Music (Oct. 8) and a fashion show tribute to the late Prince (Oct. 7) at the Bedlam Lowertown, the events will feature thought-provoking exhibitions including films like Daddy Don’t Go and Tear the Roof Off.

Charles Hallman of the Minnesota-Spokesman Recorder interviewed the festival’s Founder and Director Natalie Morrow. Read the whole story over at MSR News Online.