Monthly Archives: December 2011

Northeast Seniors Move Their Site, Expand their Vision

Seniors who need a ride to do some holiday shopping.  Seniors who just want to gather for coffee and conversation.  Seniors who are moving, in need of health care (foot clinics, exercise classes, home visits, post-operation companions).  Seniors who need a ride, legal assistance, help with snow shoveling or housework, pet care, or digital technology.

For Kay Anderson, Executive Director of it’s all about the seniors, their needs and their strengths.

Today Kay is busily re-locating the NE Seniors offices to a vibrant new setting at Autumn Woods, 2580 Kenzie Terrace.  In spite of technology that isn’t quite hooked up yet, phones that are iffy, and a dozen projects that cry out for completion, Kay remains calm and very much at home at Autumn Woods, happy to be in the company of the many seniors she hopes to meet and help in the new site.  She also touts the perks, including security and ample parking as attributes of the new site

Many of Kay’s dreams focus on the potential of technology as a problem-solver for seniors – provided they have access to equipment and some training.  She envisions grandparents skyping with their grandchildren, patients getting their medical tests online, individuals interacting with government agencies, ordering groceries and, most of all, communicating with friends and family members via social media of every stripe.  NE Seniors has space now – all that’s needed are the equipment and the orientation and support that volunteers are willing to offer.

Kay’s energy and spirit breathe life into the new offices at Autumn Woods.  Expect great things – including an open house as soon as the dust has settled.  Reach Northeast Seniors at 612 781 5096 or  Sign up to receive the quarterly newsletter (print edition) and watch for the online edition of the Northeast Minneapolis Senior Services Directory, now in print and updated online.  It’s one of myriad projects, including revision of the website, that’s in the works!

Organizer and Athlete Kathryn Hogg Spurs Women’s Footy Surge in TC’s

Women who are wondering how to keep in shape – physically and socially – during the winter months to come should meet Kathryn Hogg and her plans for indoor Footy during the months to come.

Hogg is a self-identified “computer geek” who writes software for electric utilities, a mom, a catalyst, an awesome organizer and an importer – of an amateur sport that is gaining traction in Minnesota.    She is a prime mover in importing the Australian sport of Footy, more specifically women’s Footy, to the U.S. and to Minnesota.  She is patient to explain a bit about Australian Football to the uninitiated:

Australian Football is a fast paced exciting game that is played with a ball similar in shape but slightly larger than an American football.  It combines elements of soccer, basketball, ultimate, lacrosse, and even volleyball.  Points are scored by kicking the ball between goal posts at either end of the field.   The ball is advanced by hand passing or kicking.  Hand passes are similar to an underhand serve in volleyball and the kicks are similar to punts in American football.  Unlike soccer you can catch, grab, or pick up a ball.  Some of the most exciting and elegant plays occur when players are catching balls in the air which makes it exciting to play or watch and leads to the fast paced, high scoring nature of the game.

Hogg credits the rules as well as the players for the growth of Footy.

In general I like team field sports but I dislike offside rules.  To me, Aussie rules is the purest form of all the ball sports.  You use your hands and feet, no offside, and the ball is always live.

She compares Aussie Footy rules to the rules of Ultimate in which she is also an avid participant.  She recently told a reporter that “the appeal of ‘footy’ lies in what it is…fast-paced, competitive, with an emphasis on teamwork on and off the field and what it isn’t: It’s not rugby, as many assume, and it’s not violent, because it has tackling rules that prohibit American football-style collisions.”

Though Hogg was born in Australia, her parents moved back to Scotland when she was just nine months old so it’s difficult to connect the dots, but then again who knows?  The first evidence of her affinity for the Aussie sport is manifest years later when she settled in Minnesota.

As the story goes, back in 1980 Hogg started watching ESPN’s coverage of Aussie Rules Footy.  Over the years, as women began to be taken seriously in the sports world, Hogg decided to see if women were playing Aussie Rules Footy.

Hogg reports that her early Internet searches for women playing Footy led her to the “Victorian” Women’s Football League and to the USAFL site.  Using the chat forums of the US site she suggested that a women’s clinic should be held at the 2003 nationals.  A California Footy enthusiast saw that post and took it a step further by organizing teams to play in the inaugural women’s match in the US.

“The Orange County Bombshells and an all comers team played in Kansas City in October 2003.  The Bombshells routed the opposition by 44 points,” she remembers.  Recalling that “ruck” Hogg reflects “I wouldn’t have missed it for anything, the most memorable thing about the first women’s match was just being part of something new, and I guess scoring the first goal in American women’s Footy.”

From that humble beginning women’s Footy, has come into its own, much to the credit of Hogg.  She is a founding member of the women’s team of the Minnesota Freeze Australian Rules Football Club and of the Women’s League which joined with the men’s club to co-found the Minnesota Australian Football Council to foster both men’s and women’s Footy.

At the end of March 2005 US Footy announced that Hogg had been elected to the board unanimously in the newly created position of Women’s Portfolio with the intention of furthering the development of Women’s Australian Football in North America.  She; is also one of few women Minnesota Women plays on the U.S. national team competing in Australia’s International Cup tournament.

In 2011 the Minnesota Freeze Women’s Team fielded 25-30 players in its first year as an organized local women’s competition.  This year the team also embarked on a tiered program to enhance women’s participation.  The program includes a variety of options:

  • “Fitness through Aussie Rules Football” from early January until mid-May, featuring training sessions (indoors) at different locations throughout the Twin Cities.  The Fitness program is open to women of all ages and physical abilities  who are “looking for that different type of workout, in a fun social environment.”
  • The Rec Football League is a six week season of shorter training sessions featuring non-contact Footy played on a smaller field, limited to women players only.
  • After the Rec Footy competition all players wishing to take it to the next level will have the opportunity to play on the Minnesota Women’s Team.  The ultimate goal is for some representatives of the Minnesota Freeze women’s team to represent the state at the National tournament in early October 2012.

Women’s Footy is becoming a year-round sport with an ever-growing field of women of all ages and physical abilities.  Keep up with the sport – and its ambitious promoter, Kathryn Hogg,  by checking the team’s website  or join other women’s Footy fans on Meetup.  Contact the team at  To totally immerse yourself in the game, check this video of a recent Australian Footy League game that Kathryn has posted on the local women’s footy site.


Polish Solidarity Exhibit at State Capitol

Minnesotans flocking to the State Capitol in the next couple of weeks will have a unique opportunity to reflect on the turbulent history of modern Poland.  “The Phenomenon of Solidarity: Pictures from the History of Poland, 1980-1981” commemorates the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Solidarity Movement by presenting the important dates from the strikes of August 1980 to the imposition of Martial Law in December 1981.

The exhibit depicts the path which led to the Solidarity Trade Union’s establishment, its relations with the Communist regime, and the attitude of society towards the Trade Union within the context of the most important political, social, and economic events of Poland.

This unique and powerful learning opportunity is presented by the Public Education Office of the Institute of National Remembrance.

The exhibit will be on display in the State Capitol North Corridor through December 17.

The Latest from the Greatest (Neighborhood, that is…)

Soup with the Supe

Minneapolis School Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson will be in Northeast on Thursday, December 8, for another of her Soup with the Supe conversations with families and residents of the neighborhood.  The event includes food, student entertainment and free child care for children age 3 and up.  It’s 6-8 p.m. at Northeast Middle School, 2955 Hayes Street NE.  Spanish, Hmong and Somali interpreters will be available.  Free and open to the public.


Northeast Seniors on the Move

Northeast Senior Services, for the past three years in residence at Northeast United Methodist Church, has moved to Autumn Woods, 2580 Kenzie Terrace.  They are in the senior building, Suite 2A.  The phone number and email remain the same 612 781 5096 or

Kay Anderson, Executive Director, hints that an open house for members andneighbors may be forthcoming – details to follow.

Change Comes to President’s Bike Boulevard

What’s happening in Northeast – would you believe proposed road construction!  The current challenge comes from a proposed median at Polk Street and Lowry Avenue.  The proposal and the anticipated President’s Bike Boulevard will be discussed at a special meeting on Thursday, December 15, 6-7 p.m. at Audubon Park Recreation Center, 1320 39th Avenue NE.

The rationale in support of the change includes slowed traffic on Lowry as well as a safe stopping space for bicycles and pedestrians crossing Lowry at Polk.  Negative impacts would include reduced parking on Lowry and no left turn from Lowry onto Polk/Polk to Lowry.  Motorists would also not be able to travel North-South on Polk at Lowry.

A decision by the City Council on the road changes and the impact on the President’s Bike Boulevard will be made in January.

PACIM Wigilia Dinner

A fundraiser for needy Polish orphanages, the traditional Polish Christmas Eve meal will be held at the Gasthof Restaurant, 2300 University Avenue NE, Minneapolis from 6:00 until 8:00 PM on Sunday, December 11. This community celebration features breaking of opłatek, traditional foods and singing of koledy. Same wonderful menu as last year. Tickets are $35. They can be purchased by mail by sending your check made out to PACIM to Paul Rog, 1213 Monroe Street NE, Minneapolis 55413. Be sure to include the names of the people attending and any special seating requirements you may have. For more information, contact Paul at 612-789-5972.






Rose Ensemble Tours Minnesota

The twelve performers of the internationally renowned Rose Ensemble, based in St. Paul, have traveled the globe during their years of preserving and performing sacred and secular early music.  During this holiday season they will be sharing the riches of their voices and a thousand years of music with audiences throughout the state of Minnesota.

The music of the Ensemble brings to mind ancient chants, hymns, choral works and legends mingled with the Christmas story.  Spanning eight centuries, “Slavic Wonders” includes a 12-part Russian Orthodox motets written for Peter the Great’s Imperial Court Chapel Choir, powerful double-choir works from the Polish Renaissance, Czech-language medieval hymns and Ukrainian Christmas carols.

Their Minnesota schedule includes:

Friday, December 15, 7:30 p.m.        Mary of the Angels Chapel, 901 Franciscan Way, LaCrosse, WI  $25

Saturday, December 17, 8:00 p.m.     Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, 12650                                                                  Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley, MN  $25

Sunday, December 18, 7:30 p.m.       Sacred Heart Music Center, 201 West 4th Street,                                                                  Duluth, MN  $25/$10 students at the door

Thursday, December 22, 7:30 p.m.    Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 1900 Wellesley, St. Paul $37, $27, $15

Friday, December 23, 8:00 p.m.        Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 North 17th Street, Minneapolis  $37, $27, $15



St. Nicholas Day – Learn, Celebrate and Share the Legend

Though in this country St. Nicholas Day, celebrated on December 6, generally gets short shrift, the feast, the stories and the traditions of St. Nicholas offer a sane alternative to rampant commercialism that prevails.  Whether legend or history, the stories that mark St. Nicholas and his Feast are filled with gentle care for children, a spirit of giving, even concern for young women in peril.

The saga of St. Nicholas has roots in the 4th Century when Nicholas was widely known as the Bishop of Myra, a See that is in modern-day Turkey.  Born a Greek into a wealthy Christian family in Asia Minor Nicholas was orphaned at an early age, reared by an uncle, and named to the bishopric before he was ordained (a detail soon remedied.)  He was known as a generous man who gave his substantial inheritance to the poor, the sick, orphans and other poor children.

Though stories of Nicholas abound, it is his generosity that is most honored in celebration of his Feast.  Catholicism, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy as well as Lutheranism and Anglicanism recognize the sainthood of Nicholas.  Legends of his good deeds, and their symbols, are legion, including these key stories:

v    Nicholas is often represented by various symbols of the dowry he offered to save impoverished young women from being sold into slavery because their father could not afford their dowry.  The story is that Nicholas tossed the dowry money through a window where it landed in stockings left to dry near the fire.  The three gold balls (sometimes usurped as symbols of the pawnbroker) are the most prevalent of the act, though gold coins, money bags and orange or apples also symbolize his largesse.

v    The children in the tub point to Nicholas as the protector and patron saint of children, based on the story of his rescuing young children from various perils, some of which have a distinctly sordid element.

v    Nicholas was also venerated for his protection of sailors and ships.  That relationship is depicted by the symbol of a ship or an anchor.

v    This is a stretch, but it is said that the candy cane is actually a symbol of Nicholas’ crozier, the hooked shepherd’s staff that recognizes the bishop’s care of the flock.

The common thread of Nicholas’ generosity is the element of secrecy.  Stories of the gifts and other acts of kindness invariably incorporate the theme that all of the sharing was anonymous with a heavy emphasis on the element of surprise heightened by the fact that the treats arrived under the cover of night.  Gratitude was to be expressed not to the human donor but to the heavenly giver of good deeds.

Today the lore of St. Nicholas is celebrated in Central Europe, a highly Catholic region; many of the customs continue throughout Europe and in several U.S. communities, including Northeast Minneapolis and other areas in the Twin Cities, where residents trace their roots to the Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European nations.  The Dutch of New Amsterdam carried the legend of St. Nicholas to the New World where the connection lives on in other American cities with significant German populations, such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis.  I

Throughout the world, families and institutions that hold with tradition, celebration of St. Nicholas Day on December 6 remains an honored custom.  By custom children set their shoes outside their bedroom doors on the evening of December 5.  If they have been good, they will find on the morning of St. Nicholas Day that their shoes have been filled with small gifts, candy, fruit and lots of love.

It was the influence of Clement Moore that transformed St. Nicholas into today’s Santa Claus.  From “jolly old St. Nick” to the stockings “hung by the chimney with care,” it is the legend of St. Nicholas that permeates “The Night Before Christmas”  — which henceforth assumed most of the traditions that historically typified St. Nicholas Day.

Lost in translation or with time and unfettered capitalism is the spirit of St. Nicholas, precursor of Santa Claus. December 6, an Advent feast, suggests that a dip into the legends of the season are well worth a bit of research and a few moments of reflection.  The stories add a meaningful – and delightful – aura to the holiday season.

Clipart by Gertrude Mueller Nelson

Information Age Challenges to the Fourth Amendment

Clearly, I am intensely partial to the supremacy of the First Amendment so succinctly stated in the Bill of Rights.  Still, it is one of ten amendments to the Constitution that call for individual reflection and public discourse on the observance of Bill of Rights Day, December 15.

Thinking about the forthcoming observance of Bill of Rights Day on December 15 I have been rethinking the oft-forgotten and admittedly dated Fourth Amendment, a right long taken for granted, now the Cinderella of the technology era.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is an 18th century statement, a vehement push-back to the tendency of the Brits to search and seize at will.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Though Article I, Section 10 of the  Minnesota Constitution includes a very similar statement of rights, the Minnesota Supreme Court has at times allowed individuals greater protection of their person, home, papers or other effects.  The examples of search and seizure rulings in favor of the defendant include a 2003 case that ruled against “sniff” searches; in another case, the court ruled that DWI sobriety checks are unconstitutional under the Minnesota Constitution.

For 150+ years it was enough to recognize that the “search and seizure” plank of the Bill of Rights kept the Brits at bay.   The first technology case involving the Fourth Amendment came in the 1920’s when Justice Louis Brandeis wrote the dissenting opinion in Olmstead v United States.  Brandeis anticipated the Information Age by writing in that opinion that “it is now possible to invade the privacy of people at both ends of a telephone wire.”   In a prescient alert to the court Brandeis added, “Ways may someday be developed – without breaking into desk drawers – to extract papers from home and introduce them in court before a jury….The court should translate the Constitution and recognize that you don’t need a physical trespass to create an unreasonable search.”

Minnesotans today face a host of technology-based assaults on the Fourth Amendment – ranging from facial recognition technology to cell phone tracking, punctuated by last week’s exposure of Carrier IQ’s invasion of privacy that ignited the wrath of Senator Franken.

The crux of the search and seizure challenges is unwarranted (as in authorities acting without a warrant) stops and searches.   Unwarranted searches often occur in situations that arise in public places when the court uses the “reasonableness” test to assess constitutionality of an unwarranted public encounter. An interesting permutation occurred as recently as September 2011 when truckers prevailed in their suit against the Minnesota State Patrol’s “fatigue enforcement program.”

Digital devices and the Patriot Act top the list of premises that lead to unprecedented intrusions for which the law and the courts are ill-prepared.  Though the Constitutional issues of self-incrimination, privacy, freedom of expression and security are poised on the scales of justice, technology has outstripped the conditions reflected in the Bill of Rights

The challenge to enforce the rights guaranteed in the Constitution in the 21st Century is one good reason to take seriously the observance of Bill of Rights Day on December 15