Monthly Archives: November 2011

Northeast Minnesota Book Awards Nominations Open

Hard to believe but nominations are now open for the 24th Annual Northeastern Minnesota Book Award (NEMBA)!  First, congratulations to the committed folks at the UMD Library and the Duluth Public Library who have kept this significant initiative strong and growing for nearly a quarter century.

 

The award is open to books that are substantially representative of northeastern Minnesota in the areas of history, culture, heritage or lifestyle.  For this competition the area is defined as Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Pine and St. Louis counties.

 

Deadline for nominations is February 1, 2012.  Authors will be honored on May 17, 2012 at a reception on the UMD campus.

 

All of the details are spelled out on the NEMBA website or available from UMD Library, Library Administration Office, 416 Library Drive, Duluth, MN 55812, libnemba@d.umn.edu or 218 726 6843.

 

 

Right to Know, an implicit – but insidious – victim of the Penn State tragedy

Somewhere in the murky background of the Penn State scandal is a proven fact that must not be lost in the lurid coverage of the allegations. That is the absolute travesty of the University’s total exemption from Pennsylvania’s data practices laws, weak as they may be at the core.

Access to government information definitely lacks the potential to capture headlines or public outcry that is evident in the American public’s absorption with a sex scandal. Still, this blatant threat must not be dismissed as incidental. Instead, the arrogance of the University and its commitment to avoiding public disclosure put a public face on an issue that is as implicit as it is insidious.

Though the concepts of transparency and open government are vague ideals that fall trippingly from the tongues of public officials and voters alike – the fact is the people’s right to know is fragile at best, constantly vulnerable to outrageous threats from those forces, individual and institutional, that consider themselves – and are too often considered by the public – above the law.

In some ways, the threats are of greatest concern closer to home. At the federal level it’s about agencies and effective advocacy coalitions that keep the bright light shining on the workings of the massive federal government. At the state level, more so at the local level, it’s officials, schools, sports teams, nonprofits and religious institutions that are part of the fabric of everyday life that feel free to conceal public information, to make decisions behind closed doors, to declare some vague right of exclusion from the law.

And who is there to monitor, much less challenge, what is ingrained arrogance in the institutions and the individuals? Does the public really care – until an atrocity such as Penn State reminds us all that open government is a value that demands vigilance and a broad constituency for whom the right is as basic as other rights which, though they may be easier to articulate, are no less at the absolute core of this democracy.

Resource Center of the Americas Hosts Festive Fundraiser November 5

Today the memory seems totally out of line and out of place, but my clearest visual recollection of my visit to the Resource Center of the Americas, then located at the U of M Newman Center, is that it marked my first experience with a functioning library application of the Internet.  Though demos and dreams were flooding the market, here was this small group of volunteers, many of them librarians who took “social responsibility” serious, who had created an accessible catalog for the RCA library collection.  The collection itself was bold, strident, angry, a cacophony of voices far beyond the Center’s walls – now reaching an audience that could learn and act on the information and ideas gathered by RCA staff and friends who had their collective ear to the disparity between reality and the myth.

I know that this visit recollection has lived in my mind for 28 years because this Saturday, November 5, RCA is celebrating its 28th Anniversary of service “to our community and our hemisphere.”  The gala fundraiser is 7-11:30 p.m. at the Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main Street Northeast, Minneapolis.

Guests are encouraged to “dress festive!”  And festive is the theme of the celebration.  Featured performer for the evening is Malamanya, along with traditional South American tunes by Vladimir Garrido and dance performances by Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca and the Teen Folkloric Dancers of Centro, Inc.

Friends of RCA may buy  tickets online for $35 for adults. Predictably, the event is family friendly with youth 6-17 $10 and children under 6 admitted without charge.  No tickets will be mailed –  reservations will be added to a list with an e-mailed receipt for tax purposes.  Sixty percent of each ticket is viewed as tax-deductible.

Roots of Today’s Resource Center for the Americas

A reminder of RCA’s history is timely for those who have not followed recent developments of this essential community organization.  In 1983, when RCA was established, wars in Central America were raging and many Americans were wondering aloud about the cognitive dissonance between what was happening in real life and what the Government was telling Americans.  RCA, then known as the Central American Resource Center (CARC) began educating and organizing concerned citizens about what the people and situation of Central America.

During the 1990’s CARC changed its name and broadened its mission, specifically in light of the challenges of globalization. With a increasing focus on the impact of corporate globalization RCA saw its role as a bridge-builder between all people of the Americas “committed to understanding and living a way of life that protects and respects the human rights of all people.”  The organization moved to its inviting site on Lake Street and Minnehaha where they opened a fabulous bookstore and an equally unique library – topped off with a fine little restaurant at which some of us spent far too much time and hard-earned lunch money.  The site at 3019 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis remains the remains the primary home of Resource Center of the Americas today.

In the early 1980’s a new organization with a similar mission was coming together as City South Cluster Ministries, a collaboration of five South Minneapolis Lutheran churches.  Ultimately known as La Conexion , the organization responded to the dramatic demographic shift as the Latino population began rapidly growing in Minneapolis.  Early focus of La Conexion was on social outreach with a vision of creating a public space where newly arrived Latino immigrants could receive assistance seeking resources and supportive community connections.

For five years La Conexion operated out of El Milagro Church and the Hans Christian Andersen School in the Phillips neighborhood.

Evolution of La Conexion de las Americas.

Like magnets, La Conexion and RCA worked in partnership, struggling together with the influx of immigrants in need of resources, residents in need of information, and a drastic cut in available funds.  In early 2011 the two organizations agreed that a merger of the separate entities, built on their common mission and related strengths, would better meet the needs of the community.

Thus was born La Conexion de las Americas.  Today you will find the new organization alive and well at age 28, working in the former CARC building at 3019 Minnehaha in Minneapolis or at RCA’s satellite site at the Wilder Center, 451 North Lexington in St. Paul.  You will also find an abundance of energy, commitment, experience and knowledge of U.S. and Central American relations, politics, history and media manipulation.

The Fundraising Gala on November 5 offers an festive opportunity to meet the staff and volunteers, to hear the stories, to learn about the countless services and programs and to support the organization’s bold efforts to meet the challenges of today and the inevitable waves of change that will assuredly persist.  Learn much more about the history, sponsors, volunteer opportunities, and programs of today’s Resource Center of the Americas online or by participating in some of their unique and diverse  opportunities to learn.

Register for the Gala online – If you have questions contact Jason (612 276 0788×3) or jason.stone@americas.org

Today the memory seems totally out of line and out of place, but my clearest visual of my visit to the Resource Center of the Americas, then located at the U of M Newman Center, is that it marked my first experience with a functioning library application of the Internet.  Though demos and dreams were flooding the market, here was this small group of volunteers, many of them librarians who took “social responsibility” serious, who had created an accessible catalog for the RCA library collection.  The collection itself was bold, strident, angry, a cacophony of voices far beyond the Center’s walls – now reaching an audience that could learn and act on the information and ideas gathered by RCA staff and friends who had their collective ear to the disparity between reality and the myth.

I know that this visit recollection has lived in my mind for 28 years because this Saturday, November 5, RCA is celebrating its 28th Anniversary of service “to our community and our hemisphere.”  The gala fundraiser is 7-11:30 p.m. at the Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main Street Northeast, Minneapolis.

Guests are encouraged to “dress festive!”  And festive is the theme of the celebration.  Featured performer for the evening is Malamanya, along with traditional South American tunes by Vladimir Garrido and dance performances by Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca and the Teen Folkloric Dancers of Centro, Inc.

Friends of RCA may buy  tickets online for $35 for adults. Predictably, the event is family friendly with youth 6-17 $10 and children under 6 admitted without charge.  No tickets will be mailed –  reservations will be added to a list with an e-mailed receipt for tax purposes.  Sixty percent of each ticket is viewed as tax-deductible.

Roots of Today’s Resource Center for the Americas

A reminder of RCA’s history is timely for those who have not followed recent developments of this essential community organization.  In 1983, when RCA was established, wars in Central America were raging and many Americans were wondering aloud about the cognitive dissonance between what was happening in real life and what the Government was telling Americans.  RCA, then known as the Central American Resource Center (CARC) began educating and organizing concerned citizens about what the people and situation of Central America.

During the 1990’s CARC changed its name and broadened its mission, specifically in light of the challenges of globalization. With a increasing focus on the impact of corporate globalization RCA saw its role as a bridge-builder between all people of the Americas “committed to understanding and living a way of life that protects and respects the human rights of all people.”  The organization moved to its inviting site on Lake Street and Minnehaha where they opened a fabulous bookstore and an equally unique library – topped off with a fine little restaurant at which some of us spent far too much time and hard-earned lunch money.  The site at 3019 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis remains the remains the primary home of Resource Center of the Americas today.

In the early 1980’s a new organization with a similar mission was coming together as City South Cluster Ministries, a collaboration of five South Minneapolis Lutheran churches.  Ultimately known as La Conexion , the organization responded to the dramatic demographic shift as the Latino population began rapidly growing in Minneapolis.  Early focus of La Conexion was on social outreach with a vision of creating a public space where newly arrived Latino immigrants could receive assistance seeking resources and supportive community connections.

For five years La Conexion operated out of El Milagro Church and the Hans Christian Andersen School in the Phillips neighborhood.

Evolution of La Conexion de las Americas.

Like magnets, La Conexion and RCA worked in partnership, struggling together with the influx of immigrants in need of resources, residents in need of information, and a drastic cut in available funds.  In early 2011 the two organizations agreed that a merger of the separate entities, built on their common mission and related strengths, would better meet the needs of the community.

Thus was born La Conexion de las Americas.  Today you will find the new organization alive and well at age 28, working in the former CARC building at 3019 Minnehaha in Minneapolis or at RCA’s satellite site at the Wilder Center, 451 North Lexington in St. Paul.  You will also find an abundance of energy, commitment, experience and knowledge of U.S. and Central American relations, politics, history and media manipulation.

The Fundraising Gala on November 5 offers an festive opportunity to meet the staff and volunteers, to hear the stories, to learn about the countless services and programs and to support the organization’s bold efforts to meet the challenges of today and the inevitable waves of change that will assuredly persist.  Learn much more about the history, sponsors, volunteer opportunities, and programs of today’s Resource Center of the Americas online or by participating in some of their unique and diverse  opportunities to learn.

Register for the Gala online – If you have questions contact Jason (612 276 0788×3) or jason.stone@americas.org

Today the memory seems totally out of line and out of place, but my clearest visual of my visit to the Resource Center of the Americas, then located at the U of M Newman Center, is that it marked my first experience with a functioning library application of the Internet.  Though demos and dreams were flooding the market, here was this small group of volunteers, many of them librarians who took “social responsibility” serious, who had created an accessible catalog for the RCA library collection.  The collection itself was bold, strident, angry, a cacophony of voices far beyond the Center’s walls – now reaching an audience that could learn and act on the information and ideas gathered by RCA staff and friends who had their collective ear to the disparity between reality and the myth.

I know that this visit recollection has lived in my mind for 28 years because this Saturday, November 5, RCA is celebrating its 28th Anniversary of service “to our community and our hemisphere.”  The gala fundraiser is 7-11:30 p.m. at the Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main Street Northeast, Minneapolis.

Guests are encouraged to “dress festive!”  And festive is the theme of the celebration.  Featured performer for the evening is Malamanya, along with traditional South American tunes by Vladimir Garrido and dance performances by Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca and the Teen Folkloric Dancers of Centro, Inc.

Friends of RCA may buy  tickets online for $35 for adults. Predictably, the event is family friendly with youth 6-17 $10 and children under 6 admitted without charge.  No tickets will be mailed –  reservations will be added to a list with an e-mailed receipt for tax purposes.  Sixty percent of each ticket is viewed as tax-deductible.

Roots of Today’s Resource Center for the Americas

A reminder of RCA’s history is timely for those who have not followed recent developments of this essential community organization.  In 1983, when RCA was established, wars in Central America were raging and many Americans were wondering aloud about the cognitive dissonance between what was happening in real life and what the Government was telling Americans.  RCA, then known as the Central American Resource Center (CARC) began educating and organizing concerned citizens about what the people and situation of Central America.

During the 1990’s CARC changed its name and broadened its mission, specifically in light of the challenges of globalization. With a increasing focus on the impact of corporate globalization RCA saw its role as a bridge-builder between all people of the Americas “committed to understanding and living a way of life that protects and respects the human rights of all people.”  The organization moved to its inviting site on Lake Street and Minnehaha where they opened a fabulous bookstore and an equally unique library – topped off with a fine little restaurant at which some of us spent far too much time and hard-earned lunch money.  The site at 3019 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis remains the remains the primary home of Resource Center of the Americas today.

In the early 1980’s a new organization with a similar mission was coming together as City South Cluster Ministries, a collaboration of five South Minneapolis Lutheran churches.  Ultimately known as La Conexion , the organization responded to the dramatic demographic shift as the Latino population began rapidly growing in Minneapolis.  Early focus of La Conexion was on social outreach with a vision of creating a public space where newly arrived Latino immigrants could receive assistance seeking resources and supportive community connections.

For five years La Conexion operated out of El Milagro Church and the Hans Christian Andersen School in the Phillips neighborhood.

Evolution of La Conexion de las Americas.

Like magnets, La Conexion and RCA worked in partnership, struggling together with the influx of immigrants in need of resources, residents in need of information, and a drastic cut in available funds.  In early 2011 the two organizations agreed that a merger of the separate entities, built on their common mission and related strengths, would better meet the needs of the community.

Thus was born La Conexion de las Americas.  Today you will find the new organization alive and well at age 28, working in the former CARC building at 3019 Minnehaha in Minneapolis or at RCA’s satellite site at the Wilder Center, 451 North Lexington in St. Paul.  You will also find an abundance of energy, commitment, experience and knowledge of U.S. and Central American relations, politics, history and media manipulation.

The Fundraising Gala on November 5 offers an festive opportunity to meet the staff and volunteers, to hear the stories, to learn about the countless services and programs and to support the organization’s bold efforts to meet the challenges of today and the inevitable waves of change that will assuredly persist.  Learn much more about the history, sponsors, volunteer opportunities, and programs of today’s Resource Center of the Americas online or by participating in some of their unique and diverse  opportunities to learn.

Register for the Gala online – If you have questions contact Jason (612 276 0788×3) or jason.stone@americas.org

Today the memory seems totally out of line and out of place, but my clearest visual of my visit to the Resource Center of the Americas, then located at the U of M Newman Center, is that it marked my first experience with a functioning library application of the Internet.  Though demos and dreams were flooding the market, here was this small group of volunteers, many of them librarians who took “social responsibility” serious, who had created an accessible catalog for the RCA library collection.  The collection itself was bold, strident, angry, a cacophony of voices far beyond the Center’s walls – now reaching an audience that could learn and act on the information and ideas gathered by RCA staff and friends who had their collective ear to the disparity between reality and the myth.

I know that this visit recollection has lived in my mind for 28 years because this Saturday, November 5, RCA is celebrating its 28th Anniversary of service “to our community and our hemisphere.”  The gala fundraiser is 7-11:30 p.m. at the Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main Street Northeast, Minneapolis.

Guests are encouraged to “dress festive!”  And festive is the theme of the celebration.  Featured performer for the evening is Malamanya, along with traditional South American tunes by Vladimir Garrido and dance performances by Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca and the Teen Folkloric Dancers of Centro, Inc.

Friends of RCA may buy  tickets online for $35 for adults. Predictably, the event is family friendly with youth 6-17 $10 and children under 6 admitted without charge.  No tickets will be mailed –  reservations will be added to a list with an e-mailed receipt for tax purposes.  Sixty percent of each ticket is viewed as tax-deductible.

Roots of Today’s Resource Center for the Americas

A reminder of RCA’s history is timely for those who have not followed recent developments of this essential community organization.  In 1983, when RCA was established, wars in Central America were raging and many Americans were wondering aloud about the cognitive dissonance between what was happening in real life and what the Government was telling Americans.  RCA, then known as the Central American Resource Center (CARC) began educating and organizing concerned citizens about what the people and situation of Central America.

During the 1990’s CARC changed its name and broadened its mission, specifically in light of the challenges of globalization. With a increasing focus on the impact of corporate globalization RCA saw its role as a bridge-builder between all people of the Americas “committed to understanding and living a way of life that protects and respects the human rights of all people.”  The organization moved to its inviting site on Lake Street and Minnehaha where they opened a fabulous bookstore and an equally unique library – topped off with a fine little restaurant at which some of us spent far too much time and hard-earned lunch money.  The site at 3019 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis remains the remains the primary home of Resource Center of the Americas today.

In the early 1980’s a new organization with a similar mission was coming together as City South Cluster Ministries, a collaboration of five South Minneapolis Lutheran churches.  Ultimately known as La Conexion , the organization responded to the dramatic demographic shift as the Latino population began rapidly growing in Minneapolis.  Early focus of La Conexion was on social outreach with a vision of creating a public space where newly arrived Latino immigrants could receive assistance seeking resources and supportive community connections.

For five years La Conexion operated out of El Milagro Church and the Hans Christian Andersen School in the Phillips neighborhood.

Evolution of La Conexion de las Americas.

Like magnets, La Conexion and RCA worked in partnership, struggling together with the influx of immigrants in need of resources, residents in need of information, and a drastic cut in available funds.  In early 2011 the two organizations agreed that a merger of the separate entities, built on their common mission and related strengths, would better meet the needs of the community.

Thus was born La Conexion de las Americas.  Today you will find the new organization alive and well at age 28, working in the former CARC building at 3019 Minnehaha in Minneapolis or at RCA’s satellite site at the Wilder Center, 451 North Lexington in St. Paul.  You will also find an abundance of energy, commitment, experience and knowledge of U.S. and Central American relations, politics, history and media manipulation.

The Fundraising Gala on November 5 offers an festive opportunity to meet the staff and volunteers, to hear the stories, to learn about the countless services and programs and to support the organization’s bold efforts to meet the challenges of today and the inevitable waves of change that will assuredly persist.  Learn much more about the history, sponsors, volunteer opportunities, and programs of today’s Resource Center of the Americas online or by participating in some of their unique and diverse  opportunities to learn.

Register for the Gala online – If you have questions contact Jason (612 276 0788×3) or jason.stone@americas.org

Today the memory seems totally out of line and out of place, but my clearest visual of my visit to the Resource Center of the Americas, then located at the U of M Newman Center, is that it marked my first experience with a functioning library application of the Internet.  Though demos and dreams were flooding the market, here was this small group of volunteers, many of them librarians who took “social responsibility” serious, who had created an accessible catalog for the RCA library collection.  The collection itself was bold, strident, angry, a cacophony of voices far beyond the Center’s walls – now reaching an audience that could learn and act on the information and ideas gathered by RCA staff and friends who had their collective ear to the disparity between reality and the myth.

I know that this visit recollection has lived in my mind for 28 years because this Saturday, November 5, RCA is celebrating its 28th Anniversary of service “to our community and our hemisphere.”  The gala fundraiser is 7-11:30 p.m. at the Ukrainian Event Center, 301 Main Street Northeast, Minneapolis.

Guests are encouraged to “dress festive!”  And festive is the theme of the celebration.  Featured performer for the evening is Malamanya, along with traditional South American tunes by Vladimir Garrido and dance performances by Ballet Folklorico Mexico Azteca and the Teen Folkloric Dancers of Centro, Inc.

Friends of RCA may buy  tickets online for $35 for adults. Predictably, the event is family friendly with youth 6-17 $10 and children under 6 admitted without charge.  No tickets will be mailed –  reservations will be added to a list with an e-mailed receipt for tax purposes.  Sixty percent of each ticket is viewed as tax-deductible.

Roots of Today’s Resource Center for the Americas

A reminder of RCA’s history is timely for those who have not followed recent developments of this essential community organization.  In 1983, when RCA was established, wars in Central America were raging and many Americans were wondering aloud about the cognitive dissonance between what was happening in real life and what the Government was telling Americans.  RCA, then known as the Central American Resource Center (CARC) began educating and organizing concerned citizens about what the people and situation of Central America.

During the 1990’s CARC changed its name and broadened its mission, specifically in light of the challenges of globalization. With a increasing focus on the impact of corporate globalization RCA saw its role as a bridge-builder between all people of the Americas “committed to understanding and living a way of life that protects and respects the human rights of all people.”  The organization moved to its inviting site on Lake Street and Minnehaha where they opened a fabulous bookstore and an equally unique library – topped off with a fine little restaurant at which some of us spent far too much time and hard-earned lunch money.  The site at 3019 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis remains the remains the primary home of Resource Center of the Americas today.

In the early 1980’s a new organization with a similar mission was coming together as City South Cluster Ministries, a collaboration of five South Minneapolis Lutheran churches.  Ultimately known as La Conexion , the organization responded to the dramatic demographic shift as the Latino population began rapidly growing in Minneapolis.  Early focus of La Conexion was on social outreach with a vision of creating a public space where newly arrived Latino immigrants could receive assistance seeking resources and supportive community connections.

For five years La Conexion operated out of El Milagro Church and the Hans Christian Andersen School in the Phillips neighborhood.

Evolution of La Conexion de las Americas.

Like magnets, La Conexion and RCA worked in partnership, struggling together with the influx of immigrants in need of resources, residents in need of information, and a drastic cut in available funds.  In early 2011 the two organizations agreed that a merger of the separate entities, built on their common mission and related strengths, would better meet the needs of the community.

Thus was born La Conexion de las Americas.  Today you will find the new organization alive and well at age 28, working in the former CARC building at 3019 Minnehaha in Minneapolis or at RCA’s satellite site at the Wilder Center, 451 North Lexington in St. Paul.  You will also find an abundance of energy, commitment, experience and knowledge of U.S. and Central American relations, politics, history and media manipulation.

The Fundraising Gala on November 5 offers an festive opportunity to meet the staff and volunteers, to hear the stories, to learn about the countless services and programs and to support the organization’s bold efforts to meet the challenges of today and the inevitable waves of change that will assuredly persist.  Learn much more about the history, sponsors, volunteer opportunities, and programs of today’s Resource Center of the Americas online or by participating in some of their unique and diverse  opportunities to learn.

Register for the Gala online – If you have questions contact Jason (612 276 0788×3) or jason.stone@americas.org

.

Northeast Dinner Bell Deserves Generous – If Belated – Support

For years I have read and heard about “Northeast Dinner Bell”.  Until after this fine group’s extremely important – and successful – fundraiser on October 8 I honestly did not realize that Northeast Dinner Bell is Meals on Wheels in my neighborhood.  With the thought that I am not the only uninformed resident of Windom Park, I would like to share what I have learned of late.

 

First, about the nonprofit delivery service known as Northeast Dinner Bells:  The organization was started in the parking lot at Trinity United Methodist Church, 2511 Taylor NE, Minneapolis,  in July of 1973, incorporated soon thereafter in March 1974.  Chroniclers of that era report that “volunteers removed the heated meals from a delivery vehicle to their cars and delivered them to homebound neighbors.”  As the program grew the organization rented office space from Trinity where they remain housed nearly forty years later.

 

Northeast Dinner Bell provides meals to people who are not able to shop or prepare meals for themselves.  For some the service is temporary; for others it is probably their source for nutrition as long as they remain in their homes.  For many recipients Northeast Dinner Bell is the program that enables them to stay in their homes, not only because of the nutritious meals but because of the regular visit by the driver and friend who delivers the meal.

 

At one time Northeast Dinner Bell expanded to serve more than 200 meals a day; today that number hovers between 120 and 160, with 250 volunteer drivers per month.  Originally the program was a faith-based operation, with volunteer drivers recruited by church coordinators.  Today nearly 2/3 of the volunteer hours are filled by volunteers recruited from area businesses, community-based civic groups and individual volunteers.

 

One little known fact is that more than half of Dinner Bell’s recipients donate money for their meals.  Some are subsidized by local and federal government.  Still, the income from these programs falls far short of covering expenses.  Northeast Dinner Bell relies on contributions from area businesses, churches, social service groups, memorials, fundraising activities and general individuals.

 

Which leads me to “Mission Nutrition,” the theme of the fundraising event I totally missed.  I had seen “Mission Nutrition” posters and even perused the sparkling array of performers set to share their talents at the public event on October 8 at the Ritz Theater.  I simply did not understand the purpose of the event or of the fundraising organization – my loss, I now know.  This is one mistake I will not make next year.  Meanwhile, I’m quite sure Dinner Bell would appreciate a contribution, however belated, especially as the economy, chill of winter and the festivities of the season place even greater demands on their recipients, staff, volunteers and grocery budge/

 

Dinnerbell Meals on Wheels is open Monday-Friday 8-1 – other times by appointment.

Email:  nemailsonwheels@msn.com or 612 789 6548.

Harvest Gathering Matches Needs with Volunteers

Television personality turned local theater star Don Shelby will highlight the 6th annual Gathering the Harvest community gathering and exhibit sponsored by Interfaith Minnesota.  Gathering the Harvest showcases the wide range of organizations that serve individuals and families in need in the Northeast community. Northeast neighbors are invited to participate in the event which is set for Monday, November 21, 7-9 p.m. at Northeast Middle School, 2955 Hayes Street, NE.

An invitation has gone out to community service organization to participate and promote their work and their volunteer opportunities.  The goal is to match volunteers with opportunities to serve the community.  There is no cost for exhibitors or attendees, though donations to the Harvest Gathering are appreciated.  Those organizations interested in exhibiting should reserve a table space now by contacting Jennifer@necommunity.net or 512 788 2444.

Interfaith Minnesota is a virtual community, sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Churches, grows out of the Council’s mission to manifest unity and build the common good.  The Minnesota Council of Churches is a member of numerous interfaith partnerships working for justice, including the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition.

A Digital Tour of the City’s Tree Canopy

Now that the leaves are (mostly) raked, bagged or mulched it’s a good time to reflect on the “tree canopy” that is so essential this community’s character, beauty, property values and air quality.  The mapping study of the Minneapolis tree canopy, now available online, offers an intriguing tool for studying the tree canopy of the city, your neighborhood, industrial areas.  Though the study is really designed for planners, including neighborhoods, to target resources, the tool is simple for the curious as well as the serious user.  The full study is posted online.

 

The study that created the mapping tool was conducted by the University of Minnesota Remote Sensing and Geogspatial Analysis Laboratory for the city of Minneapolis.  The statistics are fascinating in and of themselves.  For example, in Minneapolis 979,000 trees cover 32% of the city.  The majority of Minneapolis trees are green ash (14.4%), Sugar maple (13.3%), Norway maple (11.8%), littleleaf linden (10.4%) and the American elm (9.9%)  Who know!

 

Because urban trees are such an important resource, the city’s tree canopy is tracked as part of the annual Minneapolis Sustainability Indicators.  That website has a whole section on Mapping the Canopy.  The City and Park and Rec work together to maintain a healthy urban forest.

 

The City of Minneapolis includes links to further research on all of this and much more, including a very helpful listing of resources on the care and upkeep of urban trees – everything you ever wanted to know about planting, pruning, watering, dealing with insects and diseases including the Emerald Ash Borer.  One key link is to the Forestry Division of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

 

Though I freely admit that I got only as far as the interactive map that alone offered a visual and understandable overview of the canopy for the total non-arborist.  Manipulating the map was far more informative – and more fun – than gathering the fall manifestation of those beautiful trees.  The map made me realize anew just what an important resource this “tree canopy” is, even when the boughs are bare.  Truth to tell, a snow laden tree in winter is a beautiful sight to contemplate – and then there is that first fragile green of spring….I can see it now.

Bonnie Watkins To Leave ED Position at Minnesota Women’s Consortium

Bonnie Watkins, long-time Executive Director of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium, announced today that she is leaving her position January 2` “right after our fabulous Celebration32 party on January 26.”  Watkins’ plan is “to take up once again a past career as freelance writer.”

 

Watkins has actually worked with MWC for much longer than her nine years as ED.  For 23 years prior to that she was a committed volunteer who played a major role in shaping and Consortium under the direction of her predecessors.

 

In her message to MWC members and friends Watkins writes, “I believe the Consortium is strong and ready to move forward, thanks to all of you.”  Details about the next steps for Watkins and for MWC will be forthcoming.

 

 

Ka Vang Discusses Her Work at Hmong Writers Fireside Chat

For Ka Vang, promoting her creative work and chatting with  her readers does not come easily.  Some time ago she wrote “as Asians we are taught to be modest…humble…not to brag, and I try to adhere to this philosophy.”

 

Vang, a Minnesota writer with Hmong roots, is a versatile artist whose stories, essays, plays and poetry have been widely published in anthologies and as independent works.  She is the featured writer at the Hmong Writers Fireside Chat Series, presented by Hmong Arts Connection and Hnub Tshiab, Hmong Women Achieving Together.  The program includes a conversation with the Artist, Friday, November 11, 6:30 p.m. and a workshop on Magic Realism set for Saturday, November 12, 9:30-Noon.

 

Both conversations with Vang are at Dreamland Arts, 677 Hamline Avenue, St Paul.  On Friday there will be a reception following the program; on Saturday a continental breakfast will be provided.

 

Daughter of a major in the Royal Lao Army and a shaman, Vang was born in Long Cheng, Laos, in 1975.  After spending most of her early years in Thai refugee camps, she and her family settled in St. Paul’s Frogtown.

 

For Vang, as with her family and friends, bi-culturalism was a major influence on her young life.  Her interest in bi-culturalism and travel are evident in her academic life. After earning a degree in Political Science from the University of Minnesota she attended Xavier University in New Orleans where she studied African American history and literature.  In the late 1990’s she studied at King’s College in London where she delved into literature and theater, with a focus on the work of William Shakespeare.

 

One way that Vang dealt with her issues of bi-culturalism was through her intense interest in international travel that is manifest in her life and her writing today. Reflecting her passion to understand Hmong culture in various environments, Hmong stories, folklore and customs she often writes about identity and heritage themes while interweaving magic realism throughout her work.

 

A highlight of Vang’s professional life was her recognition as recipient of the Jerome Study and Travel grant that allowed her to travel extensively in France and Germany to study the lives and folklore of the Hmong people who settled in Europe.  She has also researched the lives and folklore of the Hmong in Australia, Laos, and China.  Among her many honors are the Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Grant and the Bush Artist Grant

 

Vang’s first stab at writing was as a journalist where she was one of the first Hmong reporters at several newspapers including the Minnesota Daily, the St Paul Pioneer Press and the Chicago Tribune.

 

Early in her writing life Vang turned her   creative interests  to playwriting when she was a fellow at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.  Her one-act play Disconnect, was performed there and later at Theater Mu during the New Eyes Festival.  Disconnect continues to be performed and is published in the Hmong American literary anthology Bamboo Among the Oaks.  Other plays written by Yang have been published and performed; among her best known works is From Shadows to Light, which mixed contemporary international women’s issues with traditional art forms from Asia.

 

Vang reached out to new audiences with her short stories, poetry and essays that continue to be published in a host of anthologies.  Consistent themes and characteristics of her work include her frank confrontation of sex and sexuality, race, culture and racism as well as for her sometimes elaborate constructions and dark humor.  ( An example of this last – When asked by a reporter from the Asian American Press “Do you see yourself as a pioneer?” Vang replied “Please, give me a break.  Weren’t those the people who landed on Plymouth Rock?  Well, in the words of Malcolm X, I didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, it landed on me….”

 

Though most of her work is hers alone, Vang has also collaborated with numerous Hmong writers who live in Minnesota.  She has worked with Bao Phi, Ed Bok Lee, Juliana Pegues, Mai Neng Moua and others.

 

For ten years Vang was a regular contributor to Minnesota Women’s Press.  Though she is no longer writing for MWP Vang expresses her gratitude for “the opportunity to have written for so long for the Women’s Press.  Her writing now is focused on a work-in-progress.  Vang says “I am trying to find a publisher for my short story collection, tentatively titled Tou Tongue Tiger and the Infinite Story.  Vang says eaders should expect a collection with “elements of magical realism and old fashioned Hmong stories.”

Vang is also completing her first novel that tells the story of three generation sof Hmong women.

 

Vang’s literary life is an ongoing priority in a very busy life.  For the past six years Vang has been employed with the Minnesota State College and University system in the Office of the Chancellor where she is the Director of Diversity Programs.  In that role she provides training, technical assistance and other support for MnSCU colleges and universities.  She also finds time to be an active member of the community and a sometime political activist.

 

Still her priority is to be in communication with Hmong women who she feels are underrepresented in the decision-making process in their communities.  For example, in that same interview with the reporter from Asian American Press, Vang  responded to a question about “the explosion of Hmong writers from playwrights to slam poets” with this quick thought:  “I think it is a great thing….It is truly a Hmong renaissance happening to our people in America.  We have an explosion not only in arts, but also politics, and commerce, so I encourage all Hmong writers to get their work out to the community.  Every voice makes a difference.”

 

Though an exhaustive listing of Ka Vang’s published works is overwhelming, those who have not experienced her unique voice may wish to start with some of the following:

 

  • Her essays and short stories appear in How do I begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology, published by Heyday Books
  • Riding Shotgun: Women Write about their Mothers, published by Borealis Press
  • Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories, published by Lethe Press
  • Bamboo Among the Oaks, published by Borealis Press
  • Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home in the World, published by Penguin Books
  • Disconnect, performed by Theatre Mu
  • Dead Calling, performed at Intermedia Arts
  • Shadows in Light, performed by Theater Mu at Mixed Blood

 

Questions?  email may@hmongartsconnection.org

 

Note:  The Fireside Chat series is funded in part by the Minnesota State Arts Board through the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

 

“Text Us” at the Hennepin County Library

Though I have it on good authority that this service is well advertised in Hennepin County Libraries, it occurs to me that the people who might want to use the service are likely to not be in the library but at a coffee shop somewhere.  For the past couple of months Hennepin County Library has been accepting texted questions at the Ask Us information service.

 

Library users with a mobile device should  text “hclib” to 66746 for instructions.  Library users may also access the Ask Us information service by Instant Messaging.

 

HCL also offers a free mobile application for easier access to Ask Us.  The Ask Us service is free, though standard message and data rates do apply.  Ask Us is available Monday–Thursday 9-7 and Friday 9-5.

 

According to Library Director Lois Langer Thompson, the service “isn’t only for reference questions.  Patrons can ask us what they need to ask whether it is for information, or about their library account, or anything else.  Society has become must more mobile, and communicating with our patrons by texting is a response eto that growing trend.”

 

Twin Cities Media Alliance Explores Media Tools for the “New Normal”

 

Over the years the Twin Cities Media Alliance and Twin Cities Daily Planet have earned a deserved reputation as 21st Century communicators.  TCDP is a staple on the online scene, delivering a mix of news and views, arts and opinion, to a wide spectrum of Minnesota readers.  The Alliance employs a spectrum of tools, including what has become a very popular annual Media Forum.

 

“Inform, Connect, Organize: Media Tools for the New Normal” is the theme of the 7th annual Forum to be held Saturday, November 12, 9:00 – 3:30 at Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.  The full day program is free and open to the public!

 

The day is filled with individual speakers, panels and ample opportunity for conversation among participants.  Click here for a full schedule.  Though there is no charge, registration is required.  Lunch is in the Doty Board Room – bring your own or pre-purchase online.