Monthly Archives: April 2017

Law Day 2017 inspires timely focus on the 14th Amendment

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.  Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The world was a very different world in 1958 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower first proclaimed Law Day, a move endorsed three years later by a joint Congressional resolution.  In an earlier era, the push for Law Day, first proposed by the American Bar Association, was to counter the push for May Day, aka International Workers’ Day.

This year’s theme “The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy” anticipates next year’s 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.   It is the 14th Amendment that explicitly affirms the rights of equal protection and due process.


Full text:

The Library of Congress provides in-depth analysis of the 14th Amendment and an excellent reading list here:  The American Bar Association offers suggestions for commemorating Law Day  2017.

Many communities and countless organizations related to the legal profession sponsor Law Day dinners, proclamations, even a Law Day art contest sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association:

The American Bar Association defines Law Day as “a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law.  Law Day underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share.”  Law Day 2017 prompts the media to voice the range of differing opinions and angst about the Rule of Law, specifically the 14th Amendment, in volatile circumstances.

Most important, Law Day 2017 inspires each of us whose rights are spelled out in the 14th Amendment to assess the Rule of Law as it affects the life of a regular citizen, how the law is meted out in the real world of an ordinary American, regardless of heritage or circumstance.  Likewise, the occasion calls on the grown-ups among us to share with young people the essence of the role of law in the creation of this democracy.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.  Thomas Jefferson*




Josh Cragun’s “Redemption” premieres at Nimbus Theatre

Preparing to write this post about the next production at Nimbus Theatre I realize that it’s five years since my first post about what was then a fledgling newbie on the Northeast Minneapolis theater scene.  Today Nimbus is practically venerable! (

And yet the theater is as fresh and innovative as ever.  Opening this weekend at Nimbus is a new production entitled  Redemption, written by Josh Cragun who is also co-Artistic Director of Nimbus.  The production is directed by Mitchell Frazier.

Redemption shares the stories of individuals “confronting the difficulties of re-entering society after incarceration.”  The play addresses the perplexing question “When is a person redeemed?” It is a dilemma  both poignant and timely.

Redemption opens Saturday, April 29, and runs through May 14.  Performances are at The Crane Theater, 2303 Kennedy Street, NE. ( The theater is a block off Stinson, between Hennepin and Broadway Avenues.  Parking and the theater entrance are at the back of the building.

The redemption plot is one of the oldest story shapes.

 Peter Baynham 






Indie Bookstore Day- A day to shop, read and think for yourself

As I write I’m thinking what a perfect day this would be to curl up in a remote corner of an indie bookstore, nose in book, devices decidedly off, lost in a world yet to be explored.  Since it’s an indie there’s a friendly proprietor/staffer who will share an opinion about my chosen book, even suggest a similar tome I will undoubtedly enjoy.

As I further envision my reading nook, I catch the imagined scent of the venerable books –an olfactory extra of hanging out at a used bookshop. ! I realize that I would rather read a crumby – even crumbly –   book in a used bookstore than today’s bestseller in a chain store.

All of which is a fabricated buildup to Independent Bookstore Day, set for this coming Saturday, April 29.  The basics are covered in an earlier post (  This is just a reminder to treat yourself to an indie bookstore tour on Saturday.

There’s a helpful map online ( – know that the map is far from comprehensive.  You might want to start not with the map but by trolling your own community, including the newbies, antiquarian shops, children’s bookstores, campus stores, ethnic and other bibliophile haunts you may have yet to explore. Cater to your bookish inclinations, expand your personal collection, appreciate the creative energy that supports the book community and nurtures the range of reader tastes.

Check out Indie Bookstore Day on Facebook:  (  Note that this is a highly selective post of just a few of the myriad happenings at local shops.

You’ll find the creative ways in which Indie bookstores reflect the proclivities of their proprietors.  Shops host readings, book clubs and discussion groups on every conceivable topic, art exhibits and artist presentations, children’s programs, storytellers, sports heroes and their biographers, politicians, stories and mores of new Americans, environmentalists, veterans, gardeners, musical ensembles of every tone….

As blog readers have probably observed, Eat My Words in Northeast Minneapolis ranks as my favorite indie (   Come for the books, stay for the programming:

On Independent Bookstore EMW will feature special displays, and Bookstore Bingo (played 10 AM-8 PM) where you can put your English major to the test.  Plan to be on hand mid-afternoon to join the 3:00 reading and conversation.  Author Mary Martin will discuss her book La Familia: An International Love Story. (   La Familia chronicles the emergence of Mano a Mano, the St. Paul-based international development organization.(  It’s the story of ways in which this grassroots international partnership bridges cultural and racial challenges.

The EMW conversation serves as a model of the ways in which independent bookstores are taking the lead by hosting and informing safe spaces that foster civil discourse so critical to finding our way in these divisive, uncertain, unprecedented times.

UPDATE: Indie Bookstore Day celebrations around the nation:

People’s Climate Movement features Week of Action, Climate Marches

Climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and I think this is perhaps the most serious environmental issue facing us. — Bill Nye

This coming Saturday, April 29, marks the pre-culmination of the Week of Action that began last weekend with the March for Science on Earth Day; the Week of Action, sponsored by the People’s Climate Movement (  ends on Monday, May 1.

As a build-up to the Climate March, the Week of Action features a robust agenda of public events of every sort.   Though the Week will no doubt rouse a spate of alternative facts, too, by this time we are immune….

For an overview of the Week of Action, skim this list of activities.

You’ll find poetry and art, religious services, resistance rallies and a host of study sessions and presentations on science, climate change and the ways individuals and groups are working for positive change.

Saturday, April 29, the nation celebrates the People’s Climate March, described as a “march for climate, jobs and justice.”  (  As one might expect, the epicenter of the March is in Our Nation’s Capital.

Planners have posted a long list of “sister marches” throughout the nation.  The list includes two sister marches in Minnesota.

MNQPOC Climate March

April 29, 2017 – 1:00 PM

The Exchange – 3405 Chicago Avenue

Contact Damion Mendez – call/text 612 750 7612


People’s Climate March Minnesota

Sponsored by MN350 (

April 29, 2017 – 2:30 PM

US Federal Courthouse

300 4th Street South, Minneapolis

UPDATE — SIGN CONTEST — Don’t miss the what others have done, design your own!



UPDATE: 4/28 – last minute from DC -

UPDATE  5/1 –   fait accompli:

UPDATE 5/1 – EPA website changes – words/headlines matter


Workers’ Memorial Day: A day to remember and resist

Once a grateful dues-paying member of RCIA Local 789 I’ve always had a keen sense of the role and benefits of organized labor.  And yet, it took an article in the recent newsletter from the East Side Freedom Library to alert me to the existence Worker’s Memorial Day.  A quick search of Everybody’s Favorite info opened new doors of discovery:

Basically, I learned that Workers’ Memorial is April 28, an international day of remembrance honoring workers who have been injured or lost their lives in the workplace.  Just as important, Workers’ Memorial Day is a day of resistance — a time to speak out for safety in the workplace and to resist challenges to laws that recognize the rights of the worker.

Workers’ Memorial Day will be honored in this area with a public program on Wednesday, April 26, 7:00 P.M. at the St. Paul Labor Center, 353 7th Street West in downtown St. Paul.

Panelists will explore workplace safety issues from several angles.  Speakers include Paul Qualy, a railroad conductor and Director of the United Transportation Union Minnesota Legislative Board; Mike Scully, an attorney whose expertise is in workers’ comp history as well as current threats to the workers’ comp system, and  John Sielaff, author of A Workplace Accident: John Anderson’s Fall from the High Bridge (

Sponsored by  The Friends of the Saint Paul Library in collaboration with the East Side Freedom Library.  Free and open.




Bee there for the Love Honey!

Are you pro-pollinator, concerned about healthy bees and the environmental and political challenges that threaten the bee population?  Do you plan your spring planting options with an eye to seeds that promise to attract bees? Do you visit the Ag Building at the State Fair just to see the latest from the state’s award-winning beekeepers?

Have you ever sampled – or even cooked up a batch of — “Love Honey?”

If you’ve read this far you are probably a pollinator advocate and have already sent in your reservation for the fourth annual Dandelion Honey Pastry Chef Challenge.  Sponsored by Beez Kneez, ( and catered by Chow Girls, the challenge is set for Wednesday, April 26, 6:00-9:00 PM at the Solar Arts, 711 NE 15th Avenue, in Northeast Minneapolis.

Speaker for the evening is well-known entomologist Dr. Marla Spivak of the U of M Bee Lab.  (  Dessa will emcee the evening, which will also include live entertainment from Dreamland Faces, Appetite for Change’s Urban Youth “Grow Food” and appearance by the Minnesota Rollergirls.   And, yes, you will have an opportunity taste test sweets from competing professional pastry chefs and “savories” from local restaurants.

The Dandelion Honey Pastry Chief Challenge is sponsored by Healthy Bees, Healthy Lives, a Bees Kneez campaign that has been successful in passing pollinator legislation and in raising public awareness of the environmental challenges to pollinators.

Love Honey is the honey made from dandelions, the first flowers of spring where bees can find food.  As planners note, “the public, for the most part, does not show dandelions love.”  Instead we spray lawns and kill the pollinators so essential to our food and flowers.  A loss to gourmets and honey lovers because,  Beez Kneez event planners insist, “the honey is delicious.”

Much more about Beez Kneez, including photos of their bicycle delivery system and the Beez  Kneez Honey House, plus their community-based popular learning opportunities here:

Cost of the Dandelion Honey Pastry Chef Challenge is $35.


Earth Day 2017 – A global/national/local movement!

Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2017 is a celebration of our magnificent planet and a call to those who share this earth to both appreciate and protect this earthly heritage.  In wise and wonderful ways earthlings are embracing the challenge.  A mere sampling of Earth Day happenings!

These articles from Common Dreams describe the global context in which concerned scientists and citizens are taking initiative at the national, state and local levels.

Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2017 is a celebration of this magnificent planet and a call to those who share this earth to both appreciate and protect our earthly heritage.  In wise and wonderful ways earthlings are embracing the challenge.  A mere sampling of Earth Day happenings:

These articles from Common Dreams describe the global context in which concerned scientists and citizens are taking initiative at the national, state and local levels.

In this country, the Earth Day March for Science set for Washington, DC has been well covered by the media.  More important, the March for Science has morphed into a network of state and local marches.  An earlier post about the Minnesota March for Science suggests some relevant links:   (

Earth Day has also inspired countless local initiatives.  The buzz in my Northeast Minneapolis community is the Earth Day 5K Bee Run/Walk and Earth Day River Cleanup. Yes, there is a run/walk – on-site registration at 7:30 with the 5K beginning at 9:00 AM.  Sponsored by the Great River Coalition, the run/walk is just one of several events that will be happening along the Mississippi on Earth Day.

Another goal of the day is to create a pollinator pathway along the Mississippi River.  The local effort is part of a national movement to save the bee population by creating a healthy habitat for the bees.  In the words of U of M entomologist, Dr. Marla Spivak, “our bees (all of them, honey and wild bees), need good clean food (flowers)! Lots of flowers that grow over the growing season will help bees have good nutrition, immunity, and health.”

Minnesota Native Landscapes will also be on hand with pollinator-friendly plants, seeds, local origin perennial plants, native wildflowers and grasses.  There will be prizes galore and, best of all, native plant experts to answer questions!


  • Registration opens at 7:30 AM  ($40 on race day, kids 6 and under free)
  • Fun Run/Walk starts at 9:00 AM
  • River cleanup starts at 9:30 AM – bags and gloves will be provided
  • The Run/Walk/River Cleanup will wrap up @12:30

Follow the day on Facebook @


Exploring and appreciating the parks among us!

Civilization in our time is driven by materialism and troubled by pollution, over-population, corruption, and violence. National parks can hardly be uncoupled from the society around them, but that only makes it more important to protect them and keep them whole and pure. Michael Frome

Spring inspires hope, fosters a sense of freedom, and prompts us to get serious about exploring the wonders of the outdoors – the rivers, forests, lakes, mountains and rivers around us and the oceans that largely define our nation. The season also gives us pause to respect and care deeply about our natural heritage.

We’re midway through National Park Week 2017, a partnership between the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation. We are set free to ponder the possibilities – and to thank our forefathers and mothers who had the vision and the perseverance to assure that our natural legacy remains intact and accessible to all.

Truth to tell, my favorite park is Windom Park, the jewel of Northeast Minneapolis.  No mountains or seashore, but great walkways, elegant trees, a wading pool, tennis courts, a soccer/softball field, hockey rink – and a zip line – all of which-call out to my favorite eight-year-old boy who lives across the street.

Great as it is, Windom Park didn’t make this top ten list in the National Park Foundation’s survey of Favorite National Parks – the voters’ choices are:

#1: YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.  Discover Yell, owstone National Park!

#2: YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK.  Discover Yosemite National Park!

#3: GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK. Discover Grand Canyon National Park!

#4: GLACIER NATIONAL PARK. Discover Glacier National Park!

#5: ACADIA NATIONAL PARK.  Discover Acadia National Park!

#6: ZION NATIONAL PARKDiscover Zion National Park!

#7: ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK.  Discover Rocky Mountain National Park!

#8: GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK. Discover Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

#9: GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK.  Discover Grand Teton National Park!

#10: BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK. Discover Bryce Canyon National Park!

Minnesota’s sole national park, Voyageurs National Park ( also escaped the Top Ten list – an altogether good thing because the scourge of the wilderness experience is trendiness. Though we are inordinately proud and appreciative of this wilderness wonder, we are comforted to know we won’t be edged out by throngs of road trippers.

We need to know, too, that Minnesota treasures not included on the selection list of national parks include several Minnesota monument and recreation areas that are designated as part of the National Park System.  The list includes some lesser known sites (

Explore these closer-to-home, accessible sites here:

Grand Portage
Grand Portage, MN
Twin Cities Metropolitan Area
Seven states-New York to North Dakota ,
  • NATIONAL SCENIC RIVERWAY Saint Croix Falls, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Learn much more about the states designated sites here 

The supreme reality of our time is …the vulnerability of our planet. –John F. Kennedy


TC’s Women’s and Girls’ Choirs Celebrate by Singing!

And all meet in singing, which braids together the different knowings into a wide and subtle music, the music of living.― Alison Croggon, The Naming

While musical experts of the world focus on what choir members can do, I would like to focus on what choir members can be. –Russell M. Nelson 

Two decades ago sixteen women from around the Twin Cities gathered for a relaxed dinner.  By the end of dinner they had exchanged updates on their families, jobs and life.  By the end of dessert they had constructed the foundation of a women’s choir. The Twin Cities Women’s Choir, then comprised of  32 singers, sponsored its debut performance on May 31 1998 at Lyndale Congregational Church.

Since that somewhat impromptu beginning the TCWC has grown, now singing in close harmony with the Twin Cities Girls’ Choir.  Today the choir features 150 members and a unique sound;  TCWC has commissioned over 35 compositions and arrangements for women’s voices and now sponsors a composition contest for emerging female composers.

They have also recorded five CDs and established a small group ensemble known as ENCORE!  Their concert schedule includes three major concerts and countless performances at community events.

Currently, the women and girls of both choirs are rehearsing for three early May concerts.  Both concerts will be held at the Lake Calhoun Event Center, 3450  Irving Avenue South, Minneapolis.

On Thursday, May 4, the two choirs will join their voices for the “Divas Concert.”  Doors open at 6:30 pm for the 7:00 performance.  This is a general admission concert; tickets are reserved $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

The TCWC concerts on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, are “Divas & Dessert Gala Fundraiser” concerts,    They feature a cabaret environment; seating is reserved.  The concert theme is Prospective, an exploration of the choir’s vision for the next two decades. The evening will include silent auctions, desserts and ENCORE!

Tickets are $35 advance, $40 at the door. Doors open at 6:30 for the silent auction, 7:00 for the concert.  The concert begins a 7:30.  Saturday’s  performance will be ASL interpreted.

Contact information:

Twin Cities Women’s Choir
4631 Harriet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419   612 333 8292

Twin Cities Girls’ Choir  http://www.twincitiesgirlschoir.org4631 4631 Harriet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55419     612-333-8292.

Advocates speak out – No fare hikes, route cuts for Metro Transit!

Are you a bus/LRT regular who depends on public transit to get to work, school, shopping, the clinic, entertainment, life?

Or are you a car dependent commuter who appreciates the fact that thousands of commuters avoid rush hour gridlock by taking public transit?

Or do you care about the environment – including air pollution?

The point is, all of us benefit when lots of us get around the metro area by way of the bus or LRT.   Which is why all of us need to be concerned about the proposed fare increases and drastic reductions in bus and LRT service now pending in the State Legislature.

Opponents of the legislation charge that service cuts will involve less frequent trips, shorter hours and fewer routes.  Obviously, the cuts are tough for countless riders, totally devastating for those who depend on public transit evenings, weekends, or on less traveled routes. People with disabilities will be stranded.

Advocates of public transit – riders and members of the public who care about congestion and clean air and the welfare of their neighbors will gather on Tuesday, April 18, 6:00-7:30 PM at the LRT Line Capitol/Rice Street Station to speak up for the indispensability of high quality public transportation accessible to all!  The event is hosted by Transportation Forward – open to all!!!

Check the Transportation Forward FB site for details and developments: