Plymouth Christian Youth Center at 60

Do you know Plymouth Christian Youth Center for its Arts & Tech High School, or for its children’s gift sale where kids buy presents for their families for just nickels and dimes? Or its crucial role, as owner of the Capri Theater, in revitalizing its corner of West Broadway Avenue with more to come?

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OPINION | What to do with Penn Avenue?

Seems like soon as I arrive at one of these open houses for community transit planning, there’s a particular biking enthusiast who pounces and bends my ear for a few minutes. The Nov. 13 open house for Penn Avenue planning held at the Harrison community center was no exception.Among the issues on the table: Bike lanes on Penn Avenue North. Detailed charts on big boards showed the pros and cons of moving bikes off of Penn to either Queen or Oliver, and City of Minneapolis officials have apparently concluded that neither one is feasible because of the parks and schools that are in the path, so bikes have to be accommodated on Penn.The planning process was driven by Hennepin County’s intent to put enhanced bus service on Penn Avenue, and the desire to see it drive economic and housing development in the neighborhood – solve all sorts of problems, create opportunities while they’re at it. The city is partnering in the process with Hennepin County; it’s my impression Hennepin County is neutral on bike accommodations but city officials are pushing.There are three options being floated to put bike lanes on Penn and to make that thoroughfare more pedestrian-friendly. Continue Reading

Northside Voice: Lydia

This story told through a transcript from an interview with Lydia.I have always worked all my life, but a lot of personal problems led me to lose my job. After missing two paychecks I was in a real deep problem, I owed rent, I didn’t have any money to do anything. So I lost my home shortly after I lost the job, and I was pregnant during the time. I had to go apply for AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children).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.Public assistance asked, ‘Were you trying to go back to school?’ and I said, ‘I didn’t know that it was an option for me.’ They offered a couple of classes for construction as well as healthcare. Continue Reading

Minneapolis should rethink the Above the Falls master plan

It is hard to overstate the importance of the Mississippi River in the urban form of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Once a source of energy and an important transport route, the river’s main value now is environmental and aesthetic. With the imminent closing of the Upper locks and the Upper Harbor Terminal–basically the Port of Minneapolis– the city has an incredible opportunity to redevelop 43 acres of riverfront land. More land will be available in the future, and the city has an extensive plan–the Above the Falls Master Plan–for developing the riverfront upriver from the Saint Anthony lock and dam. Continue Reading

KSTP reports Mayor Hodges flashing gang sign; Social media erupts in anger

Some Minneapolis residents are outraged over a KSTP report claiming Mayor Betsy Hodges allegedly flashed a gang sign with a Northside man with a criminal history.5 Eyewitness News reported on Nov. 6 that a photo they obtained shows Hodges and now identified north Minneapolis resident Navell Gordon flashing gang signs. The photo, KSTP reports, was taken a week before the November elections, and shows Hodges and Gordon pointing at one another and smiling. KSTP’s reporter Jay Kolls said on his Twitter account that the hand gesture is a known gang sign of the north Minneapolis gang Stick Up Boys. KSTP has the photo posted on their website.Read more TC Daily Planet coverage of this issue.But many residents disagree and have expressed their dissent via social media. Continue Reading

Don Samuels calls cops over hotdog giveaway

With less than three weeks to go until the Nov. 4 election, Minneapolis school board candidate Don Samuels may have gotten himself in some hot water with a local Northside philanthropic nonprofit.According to a YouTube video and sources from the North Minneapolis-based group NOC (Neighborhoods Organizing for Change), Samuels called the Minneapolis police on Thursday, Oct. 16, asking them to investigate “hot dog sales” in front of NOC’s offices on West Broadway Avenue.Read more of our election coverage here.In the video, a Minneapolis police officer can be seen questioning NOC representatives Mike Griffin and Wintana Melekin, who were stationed in front of NOC’s front door. When the officer asks whether NOC is selling the hot dogs in an attempt to “elicit votes,” Griffin insists they were simply handing out hot dogs for free and asking people to pledge to vote on Nov. 4. Continue Reading

Metro Transit promises more, better shelters; Community members remain skeptical

A new goal to construct and renovate bus shelters in low-income neighborhoods has been met with skepticism rather than excitement from some community members.Metro Transit announced through Metro Council last week that they are the recipients of a $3.2 million Ladders of Opportunity grant — part of which will be used to construct and renovate bus shelters in Minneapolis and St. Paul by the end of 2015. Officials said with more and better shelters, they hope to increase ridership, and improve safety and comfort.“The goal is to install up to 150 new shelters, add amenities such as heat and light at up to 75 existing locations and to replace 75 to 100 shelters in Minneapolis that were privately owned and maintained until earlier this year,” said Metro Transit Public Relations Specialist Drew Kerr.Kerr said that the grant will be combined with a local match of $815,000 from Metro Transit, contributions from state legislature, and money left over from the Green Line Project. Altogether, he said, they should have $5.8 million to fund shelter improvements.According to the Metro Council website, that money will be focused on Racially Concentrated Areas of Poverty (RCAPs), a term that refers to areas where more than half the residents are people of color, and more than 40 percent of the residents have family incomes less than 185 percent of the federal poverty threshold.Kerr said Metro Transit has identified north Minneapolis and east St. Paul as areas to focus on. Continue Reading

Hmong youth engaged in the North Minneapolis Greenway

“Greenway yog ab tsi?”, or “What is a greenway?” in the Hmong language, is a question that has been asked more than 100 times of North Minneapolis community members in and near Hmong International Academy by middle school students of color in the YMCA Beacons Minneapolis program at Hmong International Academy (HIA) – a Minneapolis Public School in the Jordan Neighborhood of North Minneapolis.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.From April to June of 2014, Hmong American Partnership, in collaboration with Hana Media & Development, provided an after-school media arts, service-learning project called In Focus: N. MPLS Greenway (or simply In Focus) for a group of mostly Hmong middle school students at the HIA, to assist the City of Minneapolis share information about the potential North Minneapolis Greenway and collect feedback from the community, especially from Asian Americans in the area who had not been a part of the city’s first round of engagement regarding the possible greenway.The participants in the In Focus project learned about video production skills, the City of Minneapolis’ greenway concepts, and community outreach techniques. Through the guidance of program facilitators, the youth helped to create Hmong and English Public Service Announcement (PSA) videos, and conducted surveys of HIA friends, families, and faculty, as well as other community members in the area. One Hmong student in the project remarked, “It’s great that we are make videos to help share this info with other Hmong in the community.”Through the PSAs and conversations about the project, community members learned that a greenway is a park-like trail that people can use for biking, walking, transportation, and recreation, and that the city is currently considering Humboldt Avenue North, from the Victory Neighborhood to the Near North or Harrison Neighborhood of North Minneapolis, as a possible route for the North Minneapolis Greenway. Continue Reading