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

Her dream came true: Meet Husna Ibrahim

When Husna Ibrahim stuck her hand inside the envelope and pulled out her acceptance letter for the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, her life’s dream came true. “Every day just being able to say that you go to the University of Minnesota and walking up and saying ‘oh my gosh, I’m a college student.’ That’s a huge deal,” Ibrahim said.  
Ibrahim is currently a sophomore student at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and is an alumnus of Project SUCCESS, a program that showed her college was possible.  
Ibrahim was originally born and raised in South Africa. Growing up, her mother wanted her and her four sisters to be independent and educated. Continue Reading

Somali president visits Twin Cities, receives mixed welcome

It was completely dark by the time Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus on Aug. 9. But the lack of light didn’t stop protesters, many of whom had been demonstrating for hours, from rushing to the curb and chanting “Down, Hassan, down!” as the president arrived.President Mohamud’s visit to the Twin Cities is part of his attempt to build relationships with the strong Somali population in Minnesota, but his reception was met with mixed feelings. More than 100 protesters showed up among the several hundred attendees at the event, attacking the president for his current policies, which protesters say lack adequate security improvements and fail to keep promises.“Somalis back in Somalia, they have been in civil war for 24 years and they don’t have a voice,” said protest organizer Abdirizak Jama. “President [Mohamud] is ignoring the federal system, the federal constitution.”Back in May more than 100 Somali lawmakers asked the president to resign for failing to deliver more tangible change, like improving security in a nation struggling to rebuild after two decades of war.President Mohamud’s support also doesn’t accurately represent the Somali-American community in Minnesota, Jama said, which he estimates at more than 25,000.The U.S. Census Bureau estimates about one in three of the 85,700 people with Somali ancestry in the United States live in Minnesota, according to their most recent data.Said Mohamed said he’s frustrated by the lack of government funds used to educate the people of Somalia about the dangers of the extremist ideology perpetrated by terrorist groups like Al-Shabab.President Mohamud is responsible for the death of Somali parliament member Saado Cali Warsame, who was killed last month in a drive-by shooting in Mogadishu, Mohamed said. Continue Reading

Minnesota Fringe Festival: The Second Oldest Profession at the U of M Rarig Center Arena

CAVEAT: I am producing a show in the same venue that is technically in competition with this one for an additional performance (though I do not view mine as a serious contender).

SHOW TITLE: The Second Oldest Profession
PRODUCER: Tinker-2-Evers-2-Chance
HAILING FROM: Minneapolis
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Peter Moore’s solo show is a collection of delightful stories of the famous (and not-so-famous) from the world of show business, drawn from Moore’s nearly 40 years as an actor and director. Highly entertaining! Continue Reading

Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival

In Jumpin’ Jack Kerouac, at the Rarig Proscenium, choreographer Windy Bowlsby takes on the challenge of teaching a bunch of veteran Fringe writers to dance. The Fringe preview gave the impression that the show might be played for laughs, but the whole production was done with sincerity and commitment. The result is a show that is a celebration of the collaborative spirit of the Fringe Festival itself. Continue Reading

Reach at the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival

Reach, presented by Nautilus Music-Theater at the Rarig Xperimental, is a buffet of new music, sung by some of the Twin Cities’ best singer-actors. I never miss the Nautilus collaborations at the Fringe. While I enjoy the frantic energy of the “fringier” musicals, it was nice to hear a show where intonation wasn’t optional. Presented as an anthology of five vignettes, some pieces have a self-contained story and some are excerpts from a larger work. But all loosely share the universal theme of aspiration. Continue Reading

CV | Alan Muller: Every contaminated site in Minnesota needs to be reviewed

Decades of disregard leave families exposed to toxins.One of the best elected officials I know of is Cam Gordon of the Minneapolis MN City Council. Gordon is a Green Party member, one of a relative handful of official Greens holding office in the United States. I don’t agree with all Gordon’s positions, of course, but he shows an impressive ability to maintain independent and thoughtful positions while seeming to maintain working relationships with his colleagues. In March, 2014, Gordon posted this commentary (below) on one of the more consequential environmental scandals to surface recently in Minnesota.Some background(Disclosure: I have not done anything like a full file review of this, and nobody has asked my opinions on it. But the patterns shown–patterns of negligence–are consistent with patterns of inadequate “cleanup” and overdone coverup seen at contaminated sites nationwide. Continue Reading