Community Collaboration helps increase Battle Creek family involvement almost 20%

A new, more collaborative approach has increased family participation in spring conferences held at Battle Creek Middle School in St. Paul. This April, our Spring Conference turnout had a 7% increase from last year and a 19% increase from two years ago. Many programs shared information about opportunities to develop new skills, improve academically and stay physically active during the summer. Continue Reading

Southwest Light Rail agreement draws criticism

The Metropolitan Council and the city of Minneapolis have announced a tentative agreement regarding the configuration of the Southwest Light Rail Project. The project’s path through the city of Minneapolis has been controversial, and the mediated agreement requires approval from a number of cities and government agencies before construction can begin. After the deal was announced yesterday, opponents weighed in as South West Light Rail Train advocates moved quickly to meet deadlines for getting federal money. Rico Morales filed this report. [Audio below]Find the original post here. Continue Reading

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 VOICES | Carry permit holder fends off crowbar wielding intruder

Construction worker Craig Paulson was thinking about where to go for lunch as he worked on renovations inside a bank-owned residence in a quiet, tree-lined and well-manicured neighborhood in Uptown on one of the last days in November.His appetite and lunchtime thoughts quickly faded, however, when Paulson, working alone in a back room inside the residence on the 3300 block of Girard Avenue, turned around and found himself faced with a “large” man wielding Paulson’s own three foot crowbar just steps from where he was working.The lifelong construction worker and father of three kids of whom he has sole custody, said that the weather was pleasant that Tuesday morning and that’s why he’d left the door of the residence open and unlocked as he worked. “It’s a nice part of town,” Paulson followed, describing the startling and unexpected encounter with the intruder.Paulson said his crowbar alongside other construction tools had been lying on the floor just inside the front door of the residence where he had been working that morning, and he said that he suspects that the intruder picked up the crowbar when he entered the residence “and carried it throughout the house” until he found Paulson in the back room.Faced with the crowbar wielding intruder who then took a step toward Paulson, a large man himself at over 6 feet tall and 240 pounds, he said he could only imagine what the intentions may be of the intruder whose height “towered over” him, and whom Paulson described as having dilated pupils and acting “like he didn’t know what he was doing.”Instinctively, Paulson – who has a permit-to-carry a firearm and describes himself as a “lifestyle” carrier who has a gun on him “every moment” that he’s awake – reached for and drew his concealed firearm and pointed it at the crowbar wielding intruder.According to Paulson, the suspect then turned and fled dropping the crowbar on the way out of the house. Paulson watched the suspect flee to a parked passenger car about a half a block away where he got into the driver’s side of the vehicle, but Paulson said couldn’t tell if he got into the driver’s seat or the back seat of the vehicle as it sped away.Paulson dialed 911 and reported the incident to police who arrived a short time later and filled out a report calling the incident a “burglary of dwelling,” according to the police report. Paulson said the police told him that it’s “not uncommon” for suspects to enter homes through open doors in the spring and fall looking for items that they can quickly steal while the occupants may be in another part of the house or in the back yard.Despite the fact that police recorded the incident as a burglary, Paulson said he feels like he avoided a “potentially bad situation” that day that could have turned into something much worse. Paulson claims that the responding officer even said they “love the CCW guys.”The Minneapolis Police Department was contacted for this story and was asked whether there has been a pattern of similar incidents in that area or elsewhere in Minneapolis, and they were also asked for information about the frequency of reported incidents of defensive use of firearms by carry permit holders in Minneapolis. Continue Reading


It’s 10 p.m. in Uptown. Every moth from the four corners of the earth has diverted course for the glowing light of Super America on Lake and Aldrich. A scrubby guy in a Rush t-shirt skulks timidly near the door, a cigarette hanging precariously from his mouth.“Spare some change?” he asks, while I make my way between him and a stack of window cleaner.“Sorry man, I only use plastic these days,” I reply. He leans closer, squinting through the wisps of smoke in his eyes.“That’s okay,” he says, “there’s an ATM inside.”Stupefied that my routine brush-off was actually challenged, I clamp my mouth and walk into the store.Something akin to survivor’s guilt accompanies me while I crisscross the isles and load up on soda pop, Cheetos, and a decadent variety of Little Debbie snack cakes. (Debbie wouldn’t be so little if she actually ate this stuff.)Fortunately for me, I have a limited capacity for shame in the face of a certain fix.My parents used to stash junk like this all over the house to keep it out of my reach. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Glen Hansard learns the local flavor at First Avenue

My husband scored tickets to Glen Hansard because they are both from Dublin. Stuff like that apparently happens when you’re Irish. I walked into the Glen Hansard show at First Avenue last Saturday, September 29 just being able to hum “Falling Slowly”—Hansard’s song from the movie Once that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2007. But I left a much more dedicated fan. 

Continue Reading

Russell Cowles will match your gift to the TC Media Alliance / TC Daily Planet

Who was that masked man, anyways?No, it wasn’t the Lone Ranger, and he wasn’t actually wearing a mask, but at the Daily Planet’s Pick of the Market fundraising dinner last Sunday, one man, who requested anonymity, did step up and offer to match all donations to the non-profit Twin Cities Media Alliance and TC Daily Planet, up to a maximum of $5,000.(Donating is easy: just follow this link to the secure donation page at .)Our benefactor didn’t want any attention at the dinner, but he has since given permission to reveal his identity: he is Russell Cowles. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because the Cowles family has long been associated with philanthropy and journalism in the Twin Cities. The Cowles family owned the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Des Moines Register, and numerous other media properties. Members of the Cowles family established the Cowles Media Foundation, which later became the Star Tribune Foundation, and have been prominent supporters of Twin Cities cultural institutions, ranging the Guthrie Theater and the Cowles Center for Dance to the Humphrey Institute and the first women’s  fastpitch professional softball league in the country, as well as causes including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.Russell Cowles’ generosity is part of an old American tradition. In the heyday of American newspapers, many of the best American dailies were owned by prominent local families, such as the Cowles in Minneapolis and Des Moines, the Binghams in Louisville, the Chandlers in Los Angeles and the Sulzbergers in New York City. They saw themselves not just as businessmen and women, but as community leaders, and saw their philanthropy as a smart investment in the vitality of their community.So why does Cowles, whose family made its fortune in print, want to support an online publication? Continue Reading