North Minneapolis Laotians give garden tour

On Tuesday, August 25, 80 people gathered at Olson Townhomes to participate in the North Minneapolis Laotian Garden Tour. Laotian gardeners led neighbors and fellow gardeners through dense rows of long beans, hot peppers, Vietnamese mint, cucumbers and tomatoes. Channel 5 and channel 11 also came. After the tour participants enjoyed delicious kou pun curry made with vegetables harvested from the garden

The garden tour was organized to highlight the importance of the garden to the Laotian community. The Laotians hope to be able to preserve the garden even when the construction of the Bottineau LRT and related development comes. Continue Reading

The end of remedial college classes?

 Educators and lawmakers are divided over a proposal that would cut funding for developmental courses at state-run colleges  ST. PAUL, Minn. – College students in remedial classes at state colleges and universities may find themselves taking college-level courses under a proposal that would cut funding for remedial programs.The proposal would not require Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) to eliminate remedial courses, but courses that do not earn college credit would be ineligible for grants and financial aid starting in 2017. This has some administrators and legislators split.While lawmakers say the proposal would improve how many students finish their degree faster and improve enrollment retention, some educators and college administrators feel it could deter students from graduating by placing them in courses beyond their skill level.On average, students pay almost $1,000 for remedial courses and 28 percent of MnSCU students are currently taking remedial courses, according to the Office of Higher Education. Of these students, only 20 percent graduate in less than three years.“We don’t want to put [students] in a situation where they get so discouraged and drop out when a two-year degree takes three years to earn,” said Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, who is spearheading the proposal. Continue Reading

Murals Bridge Divides on Snelling Avenue, Saint Paul’s Busiest Street

[At right: Snelling Avenue sidewalks. Photo by Bill Lindeke.]Snelling Avenue is one of the busiest streets in Minnesota, but it’s also one of the most overlooked: narrow sidewalks, aging buildings, and the steady stream of traffic filled with drivers that never seem to notice the rich diversity of the neighborhood around them.This summer, the Midway Murals project, which one a coveted Knight Arts Grant last year, will try to change that. Jonathan Oppenheimer, who wrote the grant for the murals project, is trying to bring together neighbors, business owners, and skilled public artists to bridge both the physical barrier of Snelling’s high-speed traffic and the cultural barriers around different immigrant and non-immigrant communities. The project, which just reached its goal of raising $22,000 from the community,I met Oppenheimer at the Midway Murals official launch at the Turf Club last month, and recently asked him a few questions about goals of the innovative public art project. Snelling Avenue is undergoing a big construction project this summer that will widen the sidewalks and attempt to calm traffic north of University Avenue and around Interstate 94. Continue Reading