Stakeholders divide over Dinkytown preservation

Homeowners favor, landlords oppose, and business owners appear mixed on whether portions Dinkytown should be declared a historic district in the four blocks across University Avenue from the original entrance to the University of Minnesota in Southeast Minneapolis. Their debate is over the “Dinkytown Historic District Designation Study” written by Minneapolis planners that will be considered by the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission on June 9 and by the City Council, probably in July. The HPC’s public hearing will be at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, in Room 317, Minneapolis City Hall.

Principal city planner Haila Maze presented the report to the board of the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association on May 19, which voted unanimously to support historic designation of the district, and to the Dinkytown Business Alliance on May 21, which rejected the idea after much discussion.

In February 2014, the HPC imposed a moratorium on development in Dinkytown pending a study to determine whether some of the area is historically significant and worthy of preservation. The city’s Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED) posted its study and solicited public input from April 20 through May 25 . Additional comments may be still submitted to be included with the appendices. Continue Reading

New citizens make it official at Festival of Nations

Amazing ethnic dance performances, foods, and exhibits – that’s what usually comes to mind when you think of the Festival of Nations, in its 83rd year as the region’s largest multicultural festival. But, the 52 men and women who gathered in the Roy Wilkens auditorium of Saint Paul’s RiverCentre on May 1 will always remember this year’s Festival of Nations as the place they became U.S. Citizens. As the soon-to-be citizens waited, excitement and nervousness in the room was palpable as three women, clipboards in hand, circulated throughout the arena. “We’re with the League of Women voters,” explained Paula Clark. League volunteers attend all naturalization ceremonies in the state (28 this year), registering the new citizens to vote. Continue Reading

Black Folk: Cause for a Different Type of Reporting

Attorney, Jeff Hassan is Executive Director to the African American Leadership Forum. The mission of AALF’s Executive Director is to create full employment, build wealth, close the achievement gap, affect legislative policy and promote healthy living in the Twin Cities African American Community. To accomplish these tasks, Mr. Hassan must first address an age old issue that affect the thought process of every day Minnesotans, especially those who read the Star Tribune. These thought processes could very well inadvertently affect legislation and funding crucial to change necessary in the African American community. As a father is to his child and as a leader is to his tribe —Mr. Hassan is the Alpha Male, and he is very protective of African American leaders and passionately demonstrates this in his open letter to the Star Tribune today. Continue Reading

Meet Sadam Haska, founder of the popular Oromo Vine

On Nov. 10, 2013 Sadam Haska, 23, started his popular Facebook-based Oromo Vine with a simple post: “Hey guys plz pass these to your friends.” The page now commands more than 6000 likes.The Brisbane, Australia based comedian and satirist says he was propelled into action out of frustration that the Oromo — despite being “funny and numerous”— lacked proper venues to channel their inner funnyness.Haska is the lead actor and producer of the vlog collective. Most of his stints focus on smart caricutures of the tension between Oromo and western culture. But Haska says his work is not all for laughs: he has taken stances on social issues such as #OromoProtests and also challenges old customs such as certain Oromo marriage practices. Last month, during his visit to Melbourne, he sat down with OPride contributor Sinke Wesho. Continue Reading

J Street founder to speak in Minneapolis

Israelis have recently gone to the polls in a contested Knesset election which will impact the country’s policy agenda and the discourse around Israeli-Palestinian relations for years to come.Please join us for a discussion between J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami and Humphrey School Professor Brian Atwood, chair of Global Policy and former dean. They will examine issues surrounding the outcome of the election and what this means for Israel’s future, as well as the future for negotiations on Arab-Israeli peace.J Street, founded in 2008 with a stated aim of serving as the “Political Home for Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel Americans”, has played an active role in the debate surrounding Arab-Israeli peace. J Street President and Founder Jeremy Ben-Ami previously served in the administration of Bill Clinton, was Howard Dean’s national policy director in 2004, and assisted in managing a mayoral campaign in New York City in 2001. He lived and worked in Israel during the 1990s and was recently included in the Jerusalem Post’s list of the 50 most influential Jews in the World. The publication deemed him “a game-changer on the American Jewish landscape”.Please note this event is open to the general public so feel free to forward the invitation to any of our community partners or other interested parties.Jeremy Ben-Ami, president and founder of J Street, will speak on “Prospects for Arab-Israeli Peace in the Wake of the Israeli Elections” 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 14
 in the Humphrey Forum
 at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 
301 19th Ave. Continue Reading

We Are Your Neighbors: Things You Might Not Understand about New Immigrants

By PM English Level 5/6 Class at the English Learning CenterThere are many things that people in Minnesota don’t understand about new immigrants. There are many things in our culture that are different.First, our religion is different. Some new immigrants are Christians, some are Muslim, and some may be another religion. One difference for Catholics from Mexico and South America is that they celebrate Virgin Mary on December 12. Muslims pray 5 times a day. Continue Reading

Remittances are lifelines between many immigrants and family members’ survival in Somalia and other East African countries

A remittance is an electronic wire transfer of funds from one country to another. For decades, many immigrant residents of the United States kept family members alive through this way of getting money across borders. Fears that terror groups like ISIS or Al-Shabaab would find ways to divert remittances to a terrorist effort prompted the United States to close down all of the channels for funds, not just from here to Somali or Ethiopia, but also to England, Denmark, Sweden and other countries where East Africans’ relatives might be living. Following earlier efforts by Rep. Keith Ellison and other congressional leaders, channels were reestablished, but on February 6th, the only remaining US channel, the Merchant Bank of California closed its money services business clients’ accounts.A rally in late February by Somali/East African leaders, joined by local and statewide officials began exploring additional steps to be taken by Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to again reopen these channels. Ventura Village’s Sadik Warfa, who is also Deputy Director of the Global Somali Diaspora, located in the neighborhood, stated, “ Although it’s a federal issue and must be solved by federal action, we are going to do our part to meet and develop a united front and explore the next steps to be taken to resolve this crisis. Continue Reading