COMMUNITY VOICES | You really don’t want to meet the Dicks at Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America

I’m not one to cry. Truth is, I rarely cry, but during a visit to Dick’s Resort in the Mall of America I was literally reduced to tears! The bartender was abusive, abrasive, and mean as HELL. I wasn’t sure why he was in a bad mood, but later found out that it is their “niche” to be mean as spitfire. Were they really trained to treat people like this, to the point of harassment? Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | The Big E sizes up MN GOP candidates

The Big E, confessing to Minnesita Progressive Project (MPP) readers and contributers, recently wrote that his heart no longer pines to hose down right wing sparkle ponies like Michele Bachmann or even review books by the likes of a Keith Ellison.  The Big E (known to his Minneapolis neighbors as Eric Pusey), is the founding scold of the MPP lefty sentry post and appears on the current edition of Democratic Visions as he retires from political blogging. After a moment of posing as a weary blogosphere elder  (as if blogging was old enough to earn elders), the smart, liberal confederate, prompted by an actual DFL elder,  Tim O’Brien, shines with bemused and bewildered takes on the current state of the Minnesota Republican Party and its clownish, hopeful State and Congressional candidates.   Mr. Pusey, who has splashed gleefully in the rushing stream of blogs, Tweets, Facebook twerking and probably Skype, does quite well in the “legacy” medium of television where I operate.  Fox Nine News knew that and for a while put him on from time-to-time.  But the Fox 9 News producers didn’t have the cojones to make him a regular pundit.   Too bad.  Mr. Pusey has good chemistry. This ten-minute Eric and Tim segment is yours to consider.  Its “tagged” (the TV producer’s sense of the word) with an homage to the late, great, populist troubadour Pete Seeger and Twin Cities activism thanks to the air guitar wonders -The Junk Yard Democrats, a peoples’ anthem, and creative editing.  Enjoy!  Enjoy!  Democratic Visions February Segments Ex-blogger Eric Pusey and Tim O’Brien on senate and gubernatorial hopefuls.Jon Spayde as a clinically depressed motivational speaker with advice for Republican hopefuls.I report on the DFL 48 Precinct Caucuses and present an award winning short film making change. Democratic Visions is handcrafted by Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka volunteer Democrats at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission. Democratic Visions Cable ScheduleMinneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m.; Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – Comcast Channel 15 – Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. Bloomington – BCAT Cable Channel 16 – Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. The entire Feburary program and 183 archived Dem Vis segments can be seen on the Democratic Visions Channel on YouTube. Democratic Visions has become the  liveliest political issues show in Minnesota.   I know.  I produce the darned thing.   Continue Reading

Community residents want to be heard, not ‘saved’ by new Seward Co-op in South Minneapolis

UPDATED August 12, 2013 – Seward Co-op released a pdf document with questions and answers from the meeting. That document is now attached to this article. Click on the pdf at the bottom of the article to read the full list of questions and answers. The Bancroft-Bryant-Central-Powderhorn Park neighborhoods of South Minneapolis exist in a “food desert” according to the United States Department of Agriculture. A food desert is a geographic area that experiences both high poverty rates and low access to large grocery stores.  In a June 9 listening session, community members responded to a proposal by Seward Co-op to locate a store right inthe middle of the neighborhoods. Residents made it clear that they were not going to allow the Seward Co-op to just “parachute in,” as one resident put it, and save the day.Longtime residents of this area can tell the history of food access in their neighborhood: a long list of corner stores and small supermarkets that did not last long. Continue Reading

Minneapolis photographer uses his camera to bring diverse community together

Take the concept of “other.’’Really, I’m asking you to consider the word, what it means and how it divides, as does Wing Young Huie, an intriguing Minneapolis photographer and documenter of everyday life.Huie, a native Minnesotan and the first non-immigrant in his family, uses his camera to coax people to think of “otherness” in America, a society polarized by differences in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, wealth and well …lots of things.Community Sketchbook focuses on the economic and social challenges facing communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color, and how people are trying to address them.It is made possible by support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Minneapolis Foundation, and some Minneapolis Foundation donor advisors.Community Sketchbook articles may be republished or distributed, in print or online, with credit to MinnPost and the foundations.Born to parents who came to the United States from China and growing up in Duluth, he knew firsthand “otherness.’’ People would ask him, “Where are you from?” and he’d answer, “Duluth.’’But they’d persist, “Really, where are you from?”Social catalystHuie, 58, uses his photography of south Minneapolis as a social catalyst, a way to build community along and on Chicago Avenue, a racially diverse area perhaps more often known as a symbol of what people lack rather than what they have. Poverty runs high here by government standards.With his pictures, Huie (pronounced “huey”) draws together blacks and whites, Jews and Muslims, the healthy and the ill, young and old, friends and strangers. His art helps people break through barriers, or as he calls them, “bubbles,” of otherness, he says.To that end 100 of his photographs are posted in 19 businesses fanning out along a 10-block stretch of Chicago Avenue from 32nd Street to 42nd Street in a public art exhibit called “We Are the Other.” A similar effort includes his “University Avenue Project,” a public art project in 2010 along the light rail line in St. Paul.His work is one spoke in a wheel of the bigger Arts on Chicago initiative involving a slate of artists and designed to foster and develop community in four Minneapolis neighborhoods: Powderhorn, Central, Bancroft and Bryant. A community celebration with a series of events is planned for June 8.Gap between perception and realityA shooting on a neighborhood street corner drew negative media attention in April.Say Huie: “Often these urban neighborhoods are viewed by crime rates. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Arts, gunshots and building community

Two weeks ago, I was reading on my couch when I heard gunshots close to my house. Then there were police sirens, yelling and more shots, as it became apparent that the police and someone else were exchanging gunfire. I moved to the middle of my house until the gunfire stopped and then looked out the window to see that a man was down in our alley and the whole block was being roped off as a crime scene. The police were searching my neighbor’s back yard for a weapon and shells, and I realized how close the shots had come to my 4 year old son’s bedroom window.Thanks to Mike Hoyt for sending us this essay. Mike wrote: I don’t know if this has much to do with the thorny issues of gentrification or not. Continue Reading

Occupy Homes claims abandoned house, eyes South Minneapolis ‘foreclosure free zone’

One year after their successful defense of Bobby Hull’s house in South Minneapolis, Occupy Homes Minnesota demonstrators have escalated the bet by launching a high-profile new campaign that they hope can solve two persistent problems with the same remedy: Moving the homeless and those who lost their homes through foreclosure into abandoned properties.

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