Best of Neighborhoods News 05/08/2019: Bde Maka Ska is Lake Calhoun again, appeals court rules

Bde Maka Ska is Lake Calhoun again, appeals court rulesOver one year ago, along with the support of the Hennepin County Board, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr reverted a Southwest Minneapolis lake to its original Dakotan name, “Bde Maka Ska,” meaning “white earth lake.” The lake was named after then-Vice President John C. Calhoun, a proponent of slavery and eventual ideologue of the Confederate south. Many took solace in the strides that this symbolic moment represented in the larger efforts in the country to remove Confederate iconography and other merchants of hatred from public space. But on April 29 of this year, Minnesota’s court of appeals may have undone this when it ruled that Commissioner Landwehr lacked authority to rename the lake. The three-judge panel found that “only the Legislature can change the name of lakes that have been in state records for more than 40 years.”

Read the full story on Southwest Journal. Minnesota House Passes Measure to Create Hmong Veterans DayApril’s end was marked by more than just the hopeful bromides about spring’s arrival in Minnesota and the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Continue Reading

Best of Neighborhoods News 4/09/19: The Prairie Island Indian Community wants net-zero emissions, and they may receive $46.2 million in funding

The Prairie Island Indian Community wants net-zero emissions, and they may receive $46.2 million in fundingJust southeast of the Twin Cities by about 45 minutes, abutting the Mississippi River, is one of the Mdewakanton reservations on Prairie Island in Red Wing, Minnesota. The tribe that calls the island home also shares a border, strangely enough, with Xcel’s nuclear plant and a cache of its radioactive waste. The facility, so precariously located just down the river, was borne out of an arrangement stipulating that Xcel must “set aside money in a state fund to develop renewable energy.” That fund has since reached about $327 million, but none of it has yet been invested in Prairie Island

So, as recent as 2018, residents set out to change just that, to finance their plan to achieve net-zero emissions and wean the island off nuclear power. In his 2019 budget plan, Governor Tim Walz has proposed allocating about $46.2 million over three years to the tribe. But currently, partisan disagreements abound over how to properly fund what many in the Legislature consider the state’s fight against climate change. Continue Reading