Monthly Archives: November 2010

Eli’s donut burgers just the start

Gourmet street food is tempting the palates of downtown diners on every street corner – critics gush about the gastronomic delicacies tenderly shepherded from off-site kitchen to food truck to mid-day diners on the Mall and environs. For those beyond the shadow of the IDS there’s Eli’s. Eli’s offers street food for the rest of us.

The menu at Eli’s Donut Burger is as unique as it is simple – the donut burger is actually your basic bacon cheeseburger on a raised glazed doughnut. It’s the brainchild of Brent Carlson-Lee, former corporate product developer and marketer and father of 2 ½ year old Eli for whom the mobile eatery is named. Though the donut burger tops the menu Eli’s also offers sweet potato fries and other deep fried treats including green beans, jalapenos and pickles.

Since it hit the road mid-summer Eli’s and Brent, chef and driver, have spent virtually every weekend at a county fair and many weekdays at local farmers’ markets, including the Village Farmer’s Market just a few blocks from Eli’s home in Northeast Minneapolis. During his first three months on the road Brent was able to schedule 80% of the county fairs to which he applied – on one long weekend he had four options for setting up business at a local fair.

Brent loves to tell how the unique gustatory treat came to be. Even more, he’s eager to work on a new product – that’s his corporate background. Towards that end he plans to spend the winter months in the family kitchen, dreaming of treats that travel well and that combine an unexpected mash-up of ingredients. Don’t ask for possibilities – Brent is still thinking.

While he thinks about food products that break all traditions Brent is taking care of Eli and Eli’s younger brother Asher, just 3 months old. Their mom, Kim, works long hours as a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. It’s a major change from Brent’s corporate life, but it gives him a chance to explore possibilities for product development and for marketing what he creates to target audiences. Ideas, not recipes, get Brent’s juices flowing.

Brent wonders aloud if people have any idea the work that goes behind the splendiferous hamburger donut – the upkeep on the truck, ordering supplies, managing the books, the licenses and the schedule.

Though he admits that the downtown culinary fare may be more elegant and possibly less caloric. Brent is not in it for nutrition or even high cuisine. He’s in it for the “ridiculous fun” that is the driving force that fuels the Eli’s Donut Burger enterprise. Watch for the concession stand to show up at unexpected venues just about anywhere within driving distance. Or find Eli’s on Facebook and Twitter anytime you have a brainstorm or just want to see what Brent is up to in his winter food lab.

St Anthony of Padua High School – Northeast Minneapolis

A black and white picture of a class from St Anthony High School.(This article originally appeared in The Northeaster)

“Strong and strident women” is the memory that Carolyn Puccio has of her years at St. Anthony High School  Now a leader in the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet community, she is a proud graduate of St. Anthony which decades until it was closed in 1971.  At that time nearby DeLaSalle, operated by the Christian Brothers,  became a co-ed high school.

Unlike most of the Catholic high schools in the area St. Anthony High School was operated by the parish itself.  The original building still stands at 8th Street and 2nd Avenue Northeast where it houses one of the Catholic Eldercare sites. St Anthony High School was actually co-educational until DeLaSalle opened in 1900.

St. Anthony’s High School grew out of the parish of St. Anthony of Padua which was established in 1849.  In 1853 the Sisters of St. Joseph opened the school, which was known for a time as St. Mary’s Convent. The name change came when the school was merged with the parish school across the street some years later.  The new facility  which provided a home for the first church, the convent that housed the first parochial teachers in Minneapolis, continued to be known as St. Mary’s for many years. Though tuition was just fifty cents a month several of the young scholars were admitted free.  Receipts for 1854 were $197.58, with expenses at $203.70, leaving a deficit to begin the school year in 1855.  In his book Lighting New Fires, published by the National Catholic Educational Association, historian Michael Guera notes that “this item of information is of interest only to show how poorly and simply our predecessors lived, their wants were few and even those were supplied with difficulty; their spirit of self-sacrifice was great and their contentment in making sacrifices was still greater.

The first school had just five school rooms and a residence for the Sisters on the second floor. Sister Gregory LeMay, one of the original teachers, was the first Sister to receive the habit of the Sisters of St. Joseph in St. Paul. For most of its history St. Anthony was staffed almost entirely by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

St. Anthony, unlike most other high schools of the Sisters of St. Joseph, remained a parish-owned school.  Although the three year diploma offered at the high school for many years did not qualify students for college entrance, many students were admitted by taking entrance exams. At that time it was uncommon for young people to go to college, but most of the St. Anthony graduates did. In 1915 the building for St. Anthony’s High School was opened.  For decades it educated the young Catholic women of Northeast.

Graduates of St. Anthony of Padua High School have happy and amusing stories of their experience.  They agree that attendance at the school was “always a special advantage to families in the area.”  Graduates of St. Anthony of Padua elementary school were assured of admission to the high school.  They tell stories of threadbare blue jumpers  and blue oxfords commonly known as Happy Hikers, of playing basketball – and “usually losing” – against other Catholic girls’ schools in the Twin Cities, of dramatic productions in which boys from DeLaSalle were recruited to play the male roles.  1954 graduate Rose Vennewitz, now living in Fridley, remembers the experience of being checked out by the Sisters before going to the Prom.

One common memory is of the May processions to the Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, constructed in 1947 and still a on the grounds of St. Anthony of Padua church.

Though the school is closed the spirit remains as countless graduates of St. Anthony continue to lead the Northeast community.

Churches of Northeast Minneapolis

Recent closings and mergers of Catholic churches throughout the archdiocese have hit Northeast Minneapolis hard.  They have also raised awareness of and interest in the heritage of those and other churches in Northeast Minneapolis, some of which are not well known outside the neighborhood and the ethnic communities they have served so long.  In Fall 1998 historians Genny Zak Kieley, with assistance from Nancy Doerfler.  wrote a great article entitled “A Church on Every Corner” published in Hennepin History, publication of the Hennepin County Museum.  A quote from that article describes the essence of the piece “From a tracing of the history of the churches emerges the soul of Northeast Minneapolis.”

The churches included in the article include St. Anthony of Padua, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Boniface Catholic Church, Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Elim Swedish Baptist Church, Holy Cross Catholic Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Cyril’s Catholic Church, St Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, St John the Baptist Church , St. Constantine Byzantine Rite Church, St. Maron’s Marinite CatholicChurch

The journal is not available online, but anyone interested in obtaining a back issue of Hennepin History may contact the Hennepin Museum directly at museum.info@hennepinhistory.org or find the original Fall 1998 issue of the journal at the library.  It’s a great and unique reflection of an historic community – which really does have a church on nearly every corner.   You might want to follow up with a walking tour – or follow the fabulous bazaars and other events these churches sponsor on a regular basis.

Here Comes Peter! The Magnificent Peter Shea

Writing about Peter Shea, his quietly amazing projects and his magnificent mind, is no easy task.  As my then-young son once observed, Peter is just so “Peter-ish.”  Any profile illuminates but a single facet of a multi-faceted man of ideas.

For example, if you have to ask “Why the Bat of Minerva”? then you probably don’t know Peter Shea – yet.   The Bat is Peter’s long-running cable show (15 years plus – Peter’s not so sure of the inaugural date.) is a midnight Saturday and Sunday night regular on Metro Cable Network/Channel 6 in the Twin Cities.  Peter says that the format, in which a disembodied Peter poses questions from off-camera “allows me, a shy person, to have conversations I want to have and to pursue lines of inquiry with real people rather than with books and articles. …and it does some diffuse good for the community, in several dimensions: providing a model of civil, extended conversation, giving people ideas about the lives they could live, getting ideas and ways of working into circulation, helping bright and under-exercised people realize what kinds of challenging work are available to them.”

Over the years the soft-spoken Peter has posed thought-provoking queries to scores of famous scholars, authors, scientists, Americans on the rise, global leaders.  In recent times the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota has archived The Bat so the hour-long interviews are streamed for those who missed the midnight premiere. A sampling of recent interviews suggests the breadth and tone of Peter’s guests:

  • October 6, 2010 – Juliet Schor, a professor of Sociology at Boston College where her research focuses on trends in work and leisure, consumerism, the family, and economic justice. Most recently she is the author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth (2010),
  • September 29, 2010 – Mike Tidwell, author of Bayou Farewell and founder and director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
  • August 30, 2010 – Rob Gilmer, a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the University of Minnesota. In the fall of 2010, he will be teaching Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010, a course which has garnered national attention.
  • August 20, 2010 – Paul Barclay, a professor of History at Lafayette College where his research interests include Japanese empire, especially in Taiwan, frontier studies, and the use of images as historical documents or instruments of ideology.
  • August 15, 2010 – Ann Waltner, a professor in both the Department of History and the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures and director of the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, talks about Matteo Ricci’s 1602 map of the world, recently acquired by the James Ford Bell Library.
  • August 5-15, 2010 – Minnesota Fringe Festival

Though these are the most recent, the full list of interviews over the years is astounding – Eugene McCarthy, John Davis, Rosalie Wahl are among Peter’s favorites. He also mentions  Maja Cerar (violinist), Carolyn Walker Bynum (medievalist), Morton Subotnik (composer), Andrew Light (environmental ethicist) and Ann Sharp (educator).  The Bat website lists the boundless and boundary-less library of videos Peter has produced since the early days of The Bat when Peter’s two sons (now grown) ran the cameras and, Peter hopes, “got some of the message.” Peter, who allows he’s not much into numbers, produces some impressive ones, e.g. some 82,000 visits  to the IAS website and nearly 10,000 video views since Fall 2008.

True to form, Peter has plans.  One big plan is just unfolding.  In a new series entitled Meet the Neighbors Peter, who also works with Shalom Hill Farm near Windom,  has begun interviewing members of the rural community for cablecast on community cable then archived in a blog.  He’s also been asked by the U of M Department of English to profile all willing faculty – of course he’d like to expand that to other departments.  In general, Peter hopes to produce “rich and coherent archives.”  He cites, for example, “a fine collection of interviews from the Spark Festival of Electronic Music” and a “small but growing collection of interviews done in connection with the Minnesota Fringe Festival.”  One oral history project underway, documentation of the history of the philosophy for children movement.  High on the list of Peter’s current enthusiasms is collaboration on expanding access to  the lectures from “Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010” a U of Minnesota course which IAS is providing online through the Bat.

Peter’s hopes for a bright technology future include great confidence in the future of cable, primarily because “the standard media have messed up fine productions with commercial interruption and commercial packaging to an extent that seems to me suicidal.”  At the same time, equipment is improving and coming down in cost so that “normal people with normal time resources can do interesting niche programming, and the shortcomings will be more than compensated by the lack of commercial distortion and the freshness and immediacy of low to the ground production.”  This offers unique possibilities for rural Minnesotans, Peter expects.  Other dreams include visions of easy archiving and repackaging, Internet 2, and every viewer both a producer of control of his or her own access options.

Learn more about Peter’s background, plans, persona and style by watching an interview archived on the IAS site.

You will never keep up with Peter’s fertile mind and high hopes – to keep abreast of the tangible products, watch the Bat of Minerva website or tune in to Channel 6 at midnight on any Saturday or Sunday.

Kee Malesky, a Librarian’s Librarian on NPR

Whenever I hear the credit to “librarian Kee Malesky” on National Public Radio I give a nod to that unknown librarian for her professionalism –  and to NPR for overtly acknowledging that librarian’s role.  Though librarians always get sometimes condescending mention in prefaces to historical tomes and doctoral dissertations, NPR puts it right out there.  Kee Malesky, who I always assumed was a male librarian, has become somewhat of a hero to me over the years.  I knew instinctively that she – or he – has to be good to get public appreciation.  I think I even took a little professional credit for our collective contribution to combating ignorance.

 

Now I know, Kee is a woman, a delightful, vivacious, vociferous, dedicated and determined woman who keeps the information wheels greased at NPR.  I know because Kee has just published All Facts Considered: The Essential Library of Inessential Knowledge (Wiley 2010),  a catalog of some of the facts that she has researched over the years as NPR’s longest-searching librarian.  From what I heard in her conversation with Weekend Edition host Scott Simon, the book is a lovely read, especially for anyone who savors the quest for good information – anyone who understands that the joy is not so much in the fact as in the thrill of the quest.

 

Good librarians have that thrill of the quest in their DNA – time on task just sharpens the skills and expands the possibilities.  Kee’s librarian DNA comes to the fore most prominently in her affirmative drive to get ahead of the questions reporters may initiate.  “We (librarians) read all the time,” she says.  “We’re constantly looking at new sources, at websites, at all kinds of things that are happening in the world….We’re all very proactive. It’s really a part of the proper job of a librarian.”   In spite of a hint of hyperbole in her description the “proper job of the librarian” she describes is as it should be in the best of all information age worlds.

 

Kee’s work makes a difference.  For one, the NPR reporters, editors and hosts have ready access to the facts, even before they need them.  For another, she deserves and probably demands credit for her work.  She’s also created a template that other high test librarians might emulate – the compilation of the searches, whether proactive or reactive, of any good librarian offes not just a reflection of a profession but a small glimmer of the many information paths being explored within any community of ideas, whether it’s a small town, an elementary school, a corporation or a university.

 

Fun staff, particularly since in today’s technology the information barriers are minimized and the quest is of the mind.

National Disabilities Employment Month

Text that asks What can you do? The Campaighn for Disability Employment.

My stacks of resources related to services for people with disabilities is staggering.  It’s risky in a way to pick just a few to recognize National Disabilities Employment Month, but I don’t want to let the month pass without naming a select few resources, most of which will lead and link to other resources. .  The topic deserves much more, but a little is better than nothing.

For starts there is the national Campaign for Disability Employment.  The public may have seen the “I Can” public service announcement on the silver screen and on local TV channels and radio stations.  The “I Can” PSA features seven people with disabilities sharing what they can do on the job when given the opportunity.  “I Can” has aired nearly 20,000 times on national television and cable stations and more than 20,000 times on national radio stations.

Closer to home, the identified portal to state services for people with disabilities is the Minnesota State Council on Disability, a good starting point for employers and employees concerned about the employment of people with disabilities.  This is a great start, but there’s much more happening on countless local fronts.  I’d like to just name a few of those I particularly appreciate, not as a  person with disability but as one very concerned about a inclusion and about how much we all have to learn.

 

  • For nearly 30 years Closing the Gap, a conference originally organized by a couple from Henderson, Minnesota, has drawn hundreds of individuals with disabilities, families, teachers and service providers to Bloomington, Minnesota for a most extraordinary mix of displays, concerns and ideas.  Assistive technology originally referred primarily to physical tools of every conceivable description to better the lives of people with a range of disabilities.  I know this because for many years I attended the exhibits if not the entire conference.  It cheered me to see the ways in which the conference expanded from physical to intellectual access as a priority.  Though I just missed this year’s conference October 10-11 I have October 12-14, 2011 on my calendar for the 30th gathering.

 

  • One of my favorite regular reads is Access Press, an excellent statewide newspaper in which Tim Benjamin continues the work of the late Charlie Smith.  For twenty years now Access Press, housed in a humble office on University Avenue in the Midway, Access Press has served the vast community of people with disabilities and those who serve that community.  Access Press continues to grow with the launch this fall of an e-letter and a group of blogs by and for people with disabilities.  It’s an amazing, quiet but effective journal that provides unique and essential information in a timely manner.  Access Press also offers an up-to-date Directory of Organizations with scores of organizations by categories ranging from Advocacy to Visual Impairment.  . (btw:The Annual Charlie Smith awards banquet sponsored by Access Press is November at the Airport Marriott.)

 

  • The University of Minnesota provides extensive information about on-campus disabilities services.  I learned a good deal about the diversity and range of services by poking around at the greatest of all learning smorgasbords, the Minnesota State Fair. (I even took the Accessibility Scavenger Hunt through which I learned that there are exactly four wheelchair rental booths on the State Fairgrounds).  One broad-based locus for services to the U of M community is the Disabled Student Cultural Center in Coffman Union.  The links on the DSCC website take the curious to all sorts of unknown resources.  For example, my librarian heart leapt up (!) when I learned that LUMINA to U is a document delivery service for students with mobility and print disabilities to assure access to library materials.  A great map from DSCC indicates essential services for students with disabilities ranging from paratransit service to disabilities parking and accessible restrooms to the “most accessible football stadium in the Big Ten.”
  • CCP Works! (aka Cooperating Community Programs) “uses an individual-centered approach, community resources and service components to meet the unique needs and goals of the individual.”  For thirty years CCP Works! Has served the community with a evolving array of services.  New to CCP Works is an Independent Living Services program serving people with disabilities in Ramsey and Washington Counties.  Employment services and opportunities are an important feature of CCP Works!

 

The list goes on – cities and towns, colleges, school systems, corporations, health care facilities, places of worship, football stadiums and virtually every other responsible institution has a program or service in place.  And yet…. Just yesterday the Minnesota Council on Foundations’ Philanthropy Potluck Blog presents some sobering facts.   A recent Harris Interactive survey commissioned by the Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability offers a reality check.  To wit:

 

Twenty years after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Americans with disabilities still lag behind on key indicators”

  • Of all working age people with disabilities, only 21 percent say that they are employed,.
  • People with disabilities are still much more likely to be living in poverty.
  • People with disabilities are less likely than those without disabilities to socialize with friends, relatives or neighbors
  • The second-largest gap between people with and without disabilities is regarding Internet access.  Eighty-five percent of adults without disabilities access the Internet, whereas only 54 percent of adults with disabilities report the same.

Disappointing as these observations are, I appreciate MCF’s bringing the survey to the fore during National Disabilities Employment month.  We need to know.

Friends of the Northeast Library Gather in Minneapolis

Library openings and re-openings have a way of getting a community’s juices flowing.  Thus was the case with the Friends of Northeast Library, a fledgling but energetic group that gathered last week to plan how best to celebrate and capitalize on the re-opening of the Northeast Library which has been closed for renovation for many months.  On one of autumn’s last perfect evenings a dozen enthusiasts and bibliophiles gathered to anticipate and plan for the re-opening, set for a date yet to be determined in Spring 2011.

Topics on the agenda included the establishment of an endowment, coupled with much discussion about the intent and disposition of that endowment.  Attendees focused on the way in which “their” library will link with and build on a strong community with ethnic roots and a thriving arts environment.  A short-range plan calls for a fundraising book sale set for Friday and Saturday, December 10-11, 2010 at the East Side Coop.

The energy was palpable and the hopes high as attendees looked to the future, including the legacy that an endowment might leave to the community, the ways in which area residents tap a mix of public libraries, especially Bottineau and St. Anthony Village, and the role of a Friends group.

The nascent Friends group is assisted by the Hennepin County Library Foundation which is working with local groups to create and support Friends organizations throughout the Hennepin County Library system.  The challenge facing the Foundation is to incorporate and envision a mix of library Friends groups in an environment profoundly transformed by the merger of the Hennepin County and Minneapolis Public Library systems, each of which had a unique profile of Friends organizations.

Fortunately, organizational heritage was not the primary concern nor the determinant of those gathered to explore the future of Friends of Northeast.  This new group has ideas, energy and commitment to take on the challenge of the new Northeast Library soon to grace and inform the Northeast community.

The Flavors of Annona Gourmet in Saint Anthony Village

According to the infallible Wikipedia  Annona is a genus of flowering plants in the pawpaw sugar apple sugar apple family cultivated in Mexico since 1000 BC. Currently, seven Annona species and one hybrid are grown for domestic or commercial use mostly for the edible and nutritious fruits; several others also produce edible fruits. Many of the species are used in traditional medicines for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Several annonacaeous species have been found to contain annona.   Annona is also a goddess, personification of plenty or the produce of the yearly harvest.

Picture of the Annona plant

Botany and mythology aside, for increasing numbers of Twin Citians Annona is becoming a household word, not because of the flowering plant but because of Annona Gourmet.  Annona is a gastronomic treasure trove of taste-satisfying treats for the gourmet and for lurkers who want to know about subtle tastes.

James Norton, writing for the gourmet’s delight, Heavy Table, tempts the tastebuds with his description of Annona Gourmet:  “In terms of sheer impact, few gastronomic experiences rival letting a few drops of flavored balsamic vinegar slide across your palate.  The result can be a fig-tinted sledgehammer, a pomegranate wrecking ball, a blueberry uppercut;  vivid , slashing, barn-burning flavor that demands bread, or tonic, or vegetables to act as a catcher’s mitt for the vinegar’s flavor fastball.”  (Heavy Table, February 13, 2009)

In just two years Annona owner and Windom Park  resident Jean Rarick has made her welcoming shop an essential destination for many and a the hub of the community.  Visitors will find gourmet delicacies accented with neighborhood news and a glimpse of what’s next in Northeast Minneapolis, St. Anthony Village and environs.
Several years ago, while pondering a career change from the international business world of fine paper, Jean was laid off.  Having traveled extensively with her previous job, she had seen the gourmet shop concept in other countries and states.  Knowing there was nothing just  like she craved in Minnesota, she decided to open Annona Gourmet in The Village, a relatively nondescript strip mall that straddles St. Anthony Village and Northeast Minneapolis.

Annona Gourmet fills the gustatory gap while the community benefits by Jean’s commitment to stay in Northeast where she has lived for the past 25 years and where she has had family in the area since the late 1800’s.  Annona Gourmet also provides a lively outlet for local entrepreneurs with ideas, kitchens and workshops and a pitch to local customers.

Annona Gourmet offers an endlessly tempting array of gourmet delicacies – a rich assortment of vinegars that Jean rotates on a regular basis, extra virgin olive oils from around the world, pasta, sea salt and a mix of locally produced products.  Shoppers will find such local products as honey, jams, salsas and snacks plus a variety of art, pottery, jewelry and crafts, including handsome woodcrafts – and of course aprons — created by local artists and crafters.  Recent additions to the gourmet shelves include  coffee from Café Palmira, biscotti from LindaLiscious and seasonings from Kayak Kitchens.

Visitors to Annona Gourmet, 2807 Pentagon Drive in the Village Shopping Center, will also find a warm welcome, taste tests of fine vinegars and virgin oils, and a new appreciation of gustatory subtleties introduced by Jean who loves fine cuisine, her adventuresome customers, her community and good music as played on her favorite KFAI – not necessarily in that order.  Shoppers and shopper wannabes will  also find a busy shopkeeper and community resource, currently making big plans for the St Anthony Village holiday special set for December 10 – more on the traditional SAV carriage rides, vendors and entertainment in future posts.

Contact Jean and Annona at 612 354 2027 or sales@annonagourmet.com

From KFC to Chinese Child Care in NE Mpls

Larry Yan approaches the day with gusto – whether the day begins at the original Chinese Child Care Center in Roseville, at the Chinese Child Care Center on Pierce Butler Road in St. Paul or the sparkling new Chinese Day Care and Preschool that straddles Northeast Minneapolis and Saint Anthony Village.  He will need that energy as he tackles the challenges of caring for and teaching scores of eager children, age 16 months to four years – now nearly 60 children at three sites.  Young learners are tackling the basics,  learning their numbers, colors, foods and more in English and Mandarin Chinese in an environment graced at every turn by music, art, dance  and Chinese culture.

My introductory poking around took me to the brand new Northeast site.  Larry has to be a magician.  He’s somehow managed to convert the former Kentucky Fried Chicken on Kenzie Terrace with bright walls decorated with art, a playground carved from nothing, and a warmth that inspires growth and learning.  I couldn’t help but notice that he has even exorcised the grease smell, which Larry allows took considerable doing.

Passing drivers may not even notice the simple “Chinese Day Care and Preschool” sign that’s been posted for several months.  Neighbors don’t realize that Larry and his wife Junxia Li have been at work for over a year, preparing for the first class of learners who arrived in September 2010.  They gutted the building, replaced the electricity and plumbing, completed massive stacks of forms for permits, licenses and financial reports.  They hired two qualified teachers and made arrangements for professionals to provide dance and music instruction.  They tested every inch for safety, painted all of the concrete block walls, and covered every wall with vibrant colors, letters, pictures and inspirational thoughts.  They made arrangements for fresh lunches to be delivered each day by a small local restaurant

The details are nothing new to Larry and Junxia.  This is their third child care/preschool site.

It all started eleven years ago when Jungxia  started a family day care center at their Roseville home.  In no time they had exceeded the home care limits and had aggregated a waiting list.  When Jack and Jill moved out of St. Christopher’s Church on Hamline and Highway 36, they seized the opportunity and opened their first facility.  Four years ago they opened a second child care center/preschool near the Yinghua Academy in St. Paul.   Though some of their young clients are adoptees, that number is dwindling as China puts limits of foreign adoptions.  Other children come from Chinese or mixed families.  None of the Centers is neighborhood based – children from throughout the Cities and from far-flung suburbs are dropped off each day to immerse themselves in the language and culture of China.

Larry positively glows as he talks about the special features of the child care and preschool programs.  There’s folk dance and music, celebration of the Chinese New Year, a “graduation” ceremony for four-year-olds headed on to kindergarten—an event that draws over 300 friends and family members to a grand event at St. Christophers and that features each “graduate” in an individual performance representative of Chinese culture.

Larry came to the US in 1989 as part of an exchange program with the University of St. Thomas where he enrolled in the Curriculum and Instruction program at the UST.  Junxia and their young son joined him 3 ½ years later.  Larry taught at Breck in Golden Valley, then took a turn at the travel business.  Meanwhile Junxia was building the family business at home, ready to take the plunge to open the first center in Roseville.

Larry and Junxia have plans.  Though the enrollment at the Northeast program is miniscule at present the school will accommodate 25-30 students. They will continue to work with Yinghua Academy in St. Paul and nearby in the former Putnam School in nearby Northeast Minneapolis.  They will outreach to nearby neighborhood and community groups. The children are already scheduled to perform in February for the Roseville Seniors!

Northeast Minneapolis residents and nearby neighbors in St Anthony Village have a rare privilege to welcome these new neighbors to the community.  Out with KFC and on with these young global citizens!

Huan Ying!  (Welcome!)

Silver Angel in the Wings

A photo of the small Silver Angel Thrift StoreBack in the day I loved to stop at the Silver Angel, a great thrift shop on Central Avenue with roots in several Northeast Minneapolis churches.  Until now, I had thought that the Silver Angel had folded her wings and silently stolen away.  Not so.  Tom Dunnwald’s great article in the Eastside Food Co-op News puts my mind at rest.

Laura Murphy, manager of the East Side Neighborhood Services Thrift, 1928  Central Avenue NE tells the story.  When the Silver Angel lease was up the store joined ESNS as a nonprofit organization committed to sharing proceeds with Eastside programs.  “They still have the support and interest of several area churches and their congregation which accounts for their good selection and quality, according to Dunnwald.

Though the annual winter coat giveaway is history, the ESNS staff and volunteers welcome tax deductible donations, recycled clothing, household goods, antiques and collectibles — and customers.  They are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 10-6, Wednesdays 10-7 and Saturday 10-5.  Find the ESNS thrift shop on the web, email thriftstore@esns.org or call 612-789-0600