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Letter: Military pollutes, too

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Dear Editor:
The Monitor is a great community resource and keeps so many people ‘in the know’. I appreciated the November issue with the focus on local foodies.
A statement attributed to Colin Anderson sticks out. On page 6, 3rd column, middle of the 3rd paragraph, it states “…while letting them know that the biggest polluter is the agriculture industry.”
As an organic proponent from a long line of farmers, I agree that industrial agriculture is a big part of the problem. And, I’m glad that Anderson points to the industry – not the farmers caught in the system. However, I believe that the statement is not accurate. He may mean carbon emission, but consider these findings. In a quick search I found agriculture listed as third in carbon emissions. “In 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector totaled 4.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, up 13 percent over 1990. Agriculture is the third largest contributor to global emissions by sector, following the burning of fossil fuels for power and heat, and transportation.” We can’t afford to ignore fossil fuels used for heat, power and transportation. Source: The EPA website.
However, there is another sector that should be exposed. A huge ‘elephant in the room’ question is, how much does US military pollute?
“In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and the Marines at $36 million.” Jun 28, 2019 from qz.com.
Another perspective from Science Daily: “The U.S. military’s carbon footprint is enormous and must be confronted in order to have a substantial effect on battling global warming, experts argue. …the US military is one of the largest climate polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) than most countries.” So, perhaps a future issue on carbon use in the neighborhood and what we can do about it. Or, exposing pollution and cleaning it up.
Thanks for listening!
Donna Goodlaxson

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Shovel the walkwalks, say hi to your newspaper carriers

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Shovel the walkwalks, say hi to your newspaper carriers

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Too Much Coffee

Tesha M. Christensen

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN, Tesha@LongfellowNokomisMessenger.com

Let’s give a hand to our newspaper carriers, those wonderful people who are out delivering the news before many of us wake up. As winter sets in, give your newspaper and mail carriers a hand. Keep sidewalks shoveled and ice-free, and make sure there’s a clear pathway to your front door. Some folks even clear a house-to-house trail on their lawns so the carriers don’t have to go up and down steps. It could speed delivery, just a tiny bit.
Nearly 30 million U.S. households still get a newspaper delivered to their doorstep, according to 2018 data from the Pew Research Center.
The job hazards are what you’d expect – dogs, sprinklers, rain, snow and sleet.
The carriers may not be what you’d expect. Henry Huggins, the beloved fictional character created by Beverly Cleary, epitomized a time when kids filled the majority of newspaper routes. Today, most carriers do the routes as a second job. This side hustle pays for vacations, cabins, and home repairs. For some, it’s a way to stay active and fit when they retire.
Delivering newspapers has been a crash course in business training for many famous folks, including Walt Disney, Warren Buffett, Kathy Ireland, former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Tom Cruise, and director David Lynch.
Our newspaper carriers aren’t TMC Publication staff members, but employees of Fresh Heir, a small business that delivers for a variety of neighborhood newspapers in the Twin Cities. They earn their wage based on the number of papers and routes they deliver. Carriers can earn $13-15 an hour and their hours are flexible. To accommodate those without cars, the Fresh Heir van drops bundles off at street corners. Carriers can then fill their bags multiple times over the next hour or so without them becoming too heavy, and then work their way up and down the street. A 12-inch stack of newspapers weighs about 35 pounds, so a carrier is always balancing how much they can carry versus the length of the route. In poor weather, the carrier places the newspapers in polybags (that can be recycled by readers), and in better weather they roll them with a rubber band to make it easier to throw.
It takes some muscle and finesse to deliver a paper to your front steps. I can tell you that my arm got pretty tired by the end of my routes this summer, and some papers didn’t make it exactly where I was aiming. My apologies for those of you that found your papers closer to the bushes than your front steps.
Some of our carriers have been delivering the same routes for years, and although I tried to talk them into being interviewed for this column, they all declined, leaving the spotlight for others. These carriers regularly walking our neighborhood streets help keep them safe. And they feel connected to the homes they’re serving.
Every once in awhile a newspaper carrier makes it into the newspapers they’re delivering. Here are a few stories compiled by the News Media Alliance:
• In 2018, Howard Shelton was shot on the job. He is a carrier for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The 60-year-old was delivering to customers on his route when his car was stolen and he was shot. His customers set up a GoFundMe to help with his expenses while out of work. It was the first time in 20 years Shelton missed work.
• In 2017, Mari Schlegel was delivering the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star when she noticed a home on her route was on fire. After calling 911, Schlegel knocked on the door of the house to wake up the resident, Debra Sherard, and alert her to the fire. Thanks to Schlegel’s quick thinking, Sherard and her pets escaped the house unharmed, and the fire department was able to put out the fire before it spread further through the house.
• When Debbie Brazell, a newspaper delivery woman for Columbia, South Carolina’s The State newspaper, noticed that papers were piling up in the paper box of a long-time subscriber on her route, she thought something had to be wrong. And she was right. The 93-year-old resident had fallen and couldn’t get up, so Brazell called 911. The woman, it turned out, had fallen and blacked out on Friday, and was not found until Brazell arrived on Monday.
Feel free to leave a tip for your carrier during these tough winter months (it’s customary to tip a carrier $5 to $10 per month, and up to $25 during the holidays), and I’m sure they’d also appreciate a smile and a thank you.
Newspaper carriers don’t just deliver papers; they also deliver democracy door to door, according to Lindsey Loving, a spokesperson for News Media Alliance. “Without newspaper carriers, many people wouldn’t receive the news that keeps them informed about their communities,” she said. “Both the news and newspaper carriers play critical roles in preserving our democratic society, and we couldn’t be more grateful to them.”
I completely agree.

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Here are some resolutions you can keep

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Here are some resolutions you can keep

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

It’s January 2020, which means a new year and a new decade. For many, the start of a year is the best time to make resolutions – to change your life for the better. Unfortunately, we know how well many resolutions work. The gym is always the busiest in January. Many diets begun after the holidays are over before Valentine’s Day. So, what are some resolutions we can make that we can (hopefully) keep? And which also benefit our community?
Resolution 1: Discover a new local restaurant each month. I did this one year and had so much fun learning new (to me) gems in my neighborhood. University Ave. is home to one of the most diverse arrays of cuisines in the Twin Cities, with many making famed chef Andrew Zimmern’s lists for best places to eat in town. Bonus points for bringing a neighbor or even making it a night out for the block. However, dining out can be expensive so maybe instead you find a new grocery store. Or any retail store.
Resolution 2: Become more environmentally and energy efficient – and saving money in the process. Zero Waste Saint Paul is an organization with helpful tips on how to become more environmentally friendly with your waste (for more information, check out zerowastesaintpaul.com and look for the article in last month’s Monitor). Another way to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly and save money is to acquire used goods rather than buy new. The Midway-Frogtown Exchange is a Facebook page dedicated to residents interested in buying, selling or giving away items. A Goodwill is also located on University, along with more second-hand stores. If you’d rather just give away your old clothes, another wonderful place is Dress For Success, a nonprofit who accepts donated professional women’s attire so others can have nice outfits for a job interview.
The Midway is known for having some of the best transit options in the Twin Cities, from bus routes to light rail and bus rapid transit. Using public transit eliminates another idling motor on the road and the added risk of wear and tear on your vehicle. If you are planning to park somewhere with paid parking, taking public transit may be a cheaper option.
Resolution 3: Connect more with the community. Our lives are busy, and we all get into habits where we go directly home after work and don’t emerge until the morning. But people are happier when they are more engaged with the outside world, and what better way than with others who live near you. I spent six years on the Frogtown Neighborhood Association, and it helped me get to know more neighbors and find out what’s happening where I live. It also allowed me an opportunity to help shape what happened too. With so many charities close to us, find one with a mission you can become passionate about. Or perhaps you just help organize more neighborhood or block parties (it can happen more than just National Night Out).
Resolutions don’t have to be broken. And they can be more than just self-fulfillment. Resolve to learn more about your community – you’ll meet interesting people and have a good time!

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Building a Stronger Midway- Holidays: a time for giving

Building a Stronger Midway- Holidays: a time for giving

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

As you look outside, you know winter is upon us. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we are in a busy time – between holidays, office/company parties, and wrapping up projects by the end of the year. But many also look for ways to help, in a popular time for giving back. According to Patrick Kirby, founder of Do Good Better Consulting, nationally 20-25% of fundraising is done in the fourth quarter with many organizations seeing much higher numbers.
In and around the Midway, there are several nonprofits. While we live in Minnesota, jokingly the land of 10,000 nonprofits (there’s actually only 9,127 nonprofit employers in the state) – there is an even bigger concentration the closer one gets to University Ave. Why?
For starters, we are closer to the State Capitol and many nonprofits are busy during the legislative session lobbying on behalf of their interests. A good transit system also helps, as many nonprofits rely on buses and trains to get their employees, volunteers and clients to their door. With cheaper rent than either downtown, the Midway and University Ave. are better on the budget while still being serviced by transit lines. There is also a synergy which occurs when several groups of a similar mission are close to each other. Like tech companies in Silicon Valley, nonprofits often want to be close to other nonprofits.
And nonprofits are good for the region. They make up 13.3% of the total workforce in Minnesota, and in two local zip codes (55104 and 55115) there are 425 nonprofits. Over 50% are in the category of human services and represent a broad range of ways to give back.
How do people help nonprofits? In several ways. For some, donating financially requires little time but can make a big difference. For those wanting a more hands-on approach, they volunteer their time. My family likes to shop for others, by buying gifts requested from families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. For some, giving back is something to do as a family or a group of friends. For others, it can be an office bonding opportunity.
At the Midway Chamber, each November we help support and promote the Shop with Cops program. The program features a cop shopping with a child for the child’s family; often the gifts purchased that day are the only gifts the family will receive for the holidays. Many times, the day starts with a shy child walking to Target with a police officer, and ends with the two laughing together as they wrap the presents. While there are similar programs throughout the country, it started here with the Saint Paul Police Department when a local resident wanted to see a better relationship between cops and youth.
In December, we hold a Celebration of Nonprofits at Hamline University where we feature programming geared at the nonprofit community. Up to 40 of our nonprofit members participate in an expo and directories of our nonprofit members are given to all attendees.
This holiday season, I hope you can think of nonprofits in our community who could use a helping hand and find a way to support any way you can.
Statistics used in this article are attributed to the 2018 Minnesota Nonprofit Economy Report, published by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. The data in the report comes from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and Internal Revenue Service. Additional information about the nonprofit sector is available on the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ website, minnesotanonprofits.org.

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Stop the presses – Chamber Directory: Support your local merchants

Stop the presses – Chamber Directory: Support your local merchants

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By DENIS WOULFE, Denis@MonitorSaintPaul.com or 651-917-4183

Denis Woulfe


Over the years, the Midway Como Monitor has had the good fortune to have a great working relationship with the Midway Chamber of Commerce. The genesis of the Monitor back in the 1970s was in large part due to encouragement and support from organizations like the Midway Chamber, the Hamline Midway Coalition, and others. In fact, when the Monitor initially needed capital to start the newspaper, there were 10 business owners and community leaders who co-signed a note with Midway Bank to get things up and running. Today, we still rely on and work closely with business and community groups and derive much of our information and story ideas from them.
You might have noticed that one of the new columnists for the Monitor in recent months has been Midway Chamber Executive Director Chad Kulas. Kulas brings a great deal of insight to his column each month, and shares many of the new developments occurring in the Midway with our monthly readers. Starting with the addition of light rail to the University Corridor several years ago, to the most recent addition of the new Allianz soccer stadium, the Midway has been the hub for a whirlwind of activity in recent years. We’re quite pleased to be able to share some of the stories about the new and unique businesses that have come to make Midway their new home through the eyes of Kulas’ monthly column.
But you may or may not know that in addition to publishing the Monitor each month, and our sister newspaper, the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger in South Minneapolis, we also partner to produce and distribute the annual Midway Chamber of Commerce Community Directory each spring. As part of that, we reach out to Chamber and non-Chamber businesses alike to see if they would like to reach this unique audience of Chamber members through advertising in the Directory.
Now the Chamber Directory is a unique product as it functions as both a house publication for Chamber members, chronicling their activities during the course of the year, but it also serves as a valuable source of information for community residents on local officials, and contact information for local schools, parks, and other community organizations. It is a great resource that is a staple in the homes and businesses where we distribute the Directory.
The Directory also functions as a valuable reminder about the wealth of valuable goods and services that you can find within our community. I remember hearing a presentation years ago about the impact of spending your money with a business that is headquartered locally versus one that is headquartered in Timbuktu. There’s a stunning multiplier effect when you spend your hard-earned dollars locally, and the short summation is that the money you spend locally ends up returning to you multifold in the form of higher local tax coffers, jobs for your high school sons and daughters, and in many other ways. Once your hard-earned dollars are spent with companies who are headquartered out of town, that money doesn’t come back to our neighborhood. Or at least it doesn’t come back in the same dramatic way that spending locally does!
So I have three messages to pass along to you today. First, if you are not currently a Midway Chamber member, why not consider signing up? I know Chad Kulas would be delighted to meet with you and tell you about the benefits of becoming a Chamber member. The Midway Chamber, by the way, is definitely on a roll of late, and is now celebrating its 100th year of existence in St. Paul. That’s a pretty impressive legacy, and not every local Chamber can make that claim to fame.
Second, if you are a business that does business in the Midway and is looking to bolster your community image and your community connection, why not consider advertising in this coming Midway Chamber Directory? I’d be happy to discuss options with you and see if it could be a good fit for you.
Lastly, regardless of whether you are a business owner or a resident in the Midway and Como communities, I’m guessing that you believe in the importance of community if you are reading the Midway Como Monitor. Consider why supporting advertisers like those in the Midway Chamber Directory as well as those in the Monitor each month is vital to the stability of that same community. Watch for and consider patronizing those same merchants when you see the Chamber Directory next April and the Monitor each month.
And meanwhile, if you have any questions about the Midway Chamber Directory or the Monitor, don’t hesitate to email me at Denis@MonitorSaintPaul.com

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To the Editor: Thank you, US Bank, for the many years of smiles

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Dear Editor:
On Dec.3, the US Bank at 2383 University Ave. (University and Raymond) closed for good. The building was formally a “First Bank” when built in the late 1940s/early 1950s and has endured many years of development happening around it. A developer has bought the property and neighboring property to make way for student housing in the area. Having stood for 70 years, the building will be torn down in the spring of 2020. There are no plans to reopen in a different location at this time, so once the signs went dark on Tuesday evening, that will be the end for the two-story building that has sat on the corner where it has seen many changes over the course of its life. As the directory board in the front entry says, “Thank you for the many years of smiles.”
Jon Lindquist

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JanWillms_20190828_115617

Asking questions, talking about interests and events

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Jan Willms

Meet Our Staff
By Jan Willms
I have been a writer for the Monitor and Messenger since around 2003. From the time I edited my high school newspaper, I have loved to write. My undergraduate degree is in journalism, and I worked as a staffer for the Fargo Forum, where I met my husband.
We later started and operated a weekly in Montana. The newspaper was our life. When our first son was born, after my water broke, I went in and did a few things on the paper and then drove myself to the hospital. It was print day, and we had to get the paper out, so my husband met the deadline and then came in to meet our son. A few days later, we put Liberty in a blanket in a drawer at our office, and he observed firsthand how newspaper production works. When our second son was born six years later, he too nestled in a drawer in the office with a colorful mobile above his head.
Running a weekly, we did it all – wrote the features, news articles and commentary; sold the ads; did the layout; wrote the headlines; took the photos; covered sports and entertainment. We were never caught up on sleep, and our social life consisted of covering stories, but it was the happiest time in our lives. After my husband died prematurely, and I entered the human services profession I have still always tried to keep a link to newspaper writing.
Community newspapers like the Messenger and Monitor are perfect, because I can still work full-time and continue to do interviews after work or on weekends. Although I have written about everything from elections to neighborhood meetings to conversations with authors and filmmakers, I love doing feature articles. Exploring what spurs a person’s creativity, what challenges him or her, or what stirs up the passion within is what I like most to do.
What sets off the creative spark in an author’s quest to complete a novel? What drives someone to start a nonprofit and help others less fortunate? Who are the mentors a musician looks up to? These are all questions that I like to find the answers to and share them with our readership.
I also like to write about the events that have shaped a person’s life. A young man once wanted to talk to us about his brother’s murder, and how it affected the family. We agreed to meet on three different occasions, but he never showed up. But the fourth time he did, and we talked for hours, and his story about his brother got told.
Perhaps most of all, writing for these papers has given me the opportunity to meet so many different people from all walks of life.
It is said that writing can be a lonely profession, but not when you are sharing a part of someone else’s world.
Meeting different persons, talking with them about what interests them, and putting it down on paper is a challenging but fulfilling task. I find that just the physical act of writing is therapeutic, and if you can make a story interesting enough to catch a reader’s eye, it makes journalism a very rewarding profession.

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Touring University Avenue

Touring University Avenue

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway
By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Recently, the Midway Chamber’s Economic Development meeting took a bus tour of University Ave. to see all the progress being made with new buildings and redevelopments. If you have not looked at all the projects happening, our neighborhood has already changed and continues to do so with more investment. Here’s a sampling of what we saw on our tour.
We started our tour at Hmongtown Marketplace, 217 Como. Owner Toua Xiong has an amazing back story, from refugee to keeping his business afloat. Located at the old Shaw lumber site, Hmongtown Marketplace has well over 100 vendors who can sell you anything from authentic Hmong cuisine to clothes, insurance and many more items.
Once on University Ave., we headed west and saw the former Old Home site, now the mixed-use housing and retail Western-U Plaza. At 769 University, a new bright, colorful building is about to open – the Mini Oski Ain Dah Yung Center. The site will be home to 42 units of affordable housing development serving American Indian youth experiencing homelessness. Our first stop was at 1000 University, a building that re-opened in 2015 and is managed by Suntide Commercial Realty. Suntide has been a strong supporter of the Midway, also managing locations farther west like the Case Building and the Court Building.
Another example of mixed-use is at the northeast corner of Hamline and University – Hamline Station. The development has over 100 units of workforce housing and 13,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor. The Magic Noodle, one of the most hyped new restaurants in our neighborhood, opened earlier this year to rave reviews.
Our second stop was next to Allianz Field. We did our tour days after the first playoff game and the Tommie-Johnnie game both played there. Now that the team (and stadium) have wrapped up its first season, we’ll see what other events will be hosted there. The space is available for corporate events and nonprofits, as well. The site next to the field is in the process of being redeveloped; much like Allianz Field itself, Mortenson is working on the site. With Allianz Field has come new bars. The Black Hart of Saint Paul and the Midway Saloon have both opened in the past year across University from Allianz. Mixed-use will also go west of Allianz, as Bremer Bank’s old location will be redeveloped with housing above it and the old Furniture Barn site will also be mixed-use.
Our final stop was a tour within a tour – this time of the new murals from the Chroma Zone festival. Twelve murals are in the Creative Enterprise Zone, created by artists from all over the world. Many of the murals can be seen on a walking tour, and they brighten up the neighborhood. For more information on the murals, go to https://creativeenterprisezone.org/chroma-zone.
Our tour ended back where we began, at Hmongtown Marketplace where we ate at the food court. If you have not had a meal at the food court, you’re missing out on a great place to enjoy Hmong food. Most vendors leave around 6 p.m. and the food court offers several options. Hmongtown Marketplace may be expanding in the future, making it an even larger cultural destination.
University Avenue is continually changing, with billions of dollars spent on investment along the corridor since Green Line construction began. That investment has included several housing projects, a new Senate building, new restaurants, homes for nonprofits and businesses alike and the home of the Minnesota United FC.
If you take the same route as we did, you will also see a new mural at the northwest intersection of Dale and University, which reads “Development without Displacement.” As someone who lived in Frogtown for close to 10 years, this message resonates with me and I do hope developers will think about the community beyond their project. At the Midway Chamber, we strive to “build a stronger Midway.” My hope is developers will embrace both messages.

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Manufacturing in the Midway

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Manufacturing in the Midway

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Oct. 1-7 was Minnesota Manufacturing week, and events were planned and celebrations occurred throughout the state in an effort to honor and raise awareness of the many products created in Minnesota. Historically, the Midway community has been one of the top homes for manufacturing in Saint Paul as well as the state. With a perfect space in the middle of the Twin Cities, the Midway was a natural spot for manufacturing. Having easy access to several rail lines helped get things started over 100 years ago, and many of the old buildings remain today (though many have been repurposed).
Today, the Griggs-Midway Building at the corner of Fairview and University is home to several organizations, nonprofit and for-profit alike. But when I worked there almost 20 years ago I was fascinated to realize it had once been a candy and cracker factory.
Last year, the Midway Chamber held an event at the newly renamed Prior Works Building. Originally built in the 1880s, the building has created agricultural equipment and was home for many years to Silgan Container and the American Can Company. Today it’s home to Flannel Jax’s, an axe-throwing event company; Blackstack Brewing and TrueStone Coffee; the part mini-golf course/part art exhibit Can Can Wonderland; and many more tenants who want to have their office in a creative space.
The Minnesota Chemical Building will be repurposed after spending over a century manufacturing soap products.
Vandalia Tower opened in the old King Koil Mattress site in 2015, with more space for creative offices, an event space, and yes, another taproom (Lake Monster Brewing).
But don’t think manufacturing is only a thing of the past in the Midway. In fact, parts of the Midway still contribute more to the city’s commercial and industrial tax base than anywhere. Salsa Lisa, a company started when its founder started selling her salsa at farmer’s markets, is now a national brand and located on Pelham. Deneen Pottery has been creating hand-thrown clay products since the 1970s and today employs over 80 workers on Endicott (in the same building as yet another taproom, Urban Growler). Two recent moves from other cities to the Midway’s Energy Park Drive are going to help increase our commercial/industrial numbers. MISCO, a company offering audio solutions, recently moved from Minneapolis; Alula, a company offering smart security solutions, moved from Hudson, Wis.
These companies are just a few examples of the innovative products still being manufactured in the Midway today. Manufacturing not only helps create jobs in our community, it also helps the city’s bottom line. A study conducted by the Saint Paul Port Authority states that industrial activity consumes only $0.60 to $0.70 in city services for every $1 in revenue it generates.
As you drive around our neighborhood, take note of the companies here creating jobs and products, and consider supporting local businesses. They do a lot for our economy and help make our neighborhood flourish.

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TOO MUCH COFFEE: Let’s start believing women and children

TOO MUCH COFFEE: Let’s start believing women and children

Posted on 12 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN, Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com

Tesha M. Christensen

It’s time to believe women and children.
This month, we launch a new series aimed at putting a face on domestic violence and intimate partner terrorism that we’re calling “Voices of Violence.”
The majority of people in this series will be anonymous for their safety, and to avoid causing trouble with their custody cases. Unfortunately, we can’t get the full story unless they can be assured that it won’t blow-back negatively on their drive to protect their kids – the foremost concern of the women I’ve interviewed.
However, I have carefully vetted their stories, and know that each woman is speaking for many who can tell the same sorts of stories with the same cycles of abuse. They all fell in love with a man who was good to them, and who later switched to angry, manipulative and controlling actions that left them baffled and confused. Things started out with behaviors that didn’t seem so bad, and then got worse with a fair amount of gaslighting thrown in so they would question what was really happening.
And then they got the questions from friends and family: Why did you stay? The answer is complicated, as you’ll see from these stories. And women are often pressured to stay and patch things up for the “sake of the kids” while they’re also told by others that if it were them, they would have left a long time ago. They would never have stood for this. In many way, these women can’t win. And, sometimes, a victimized person may not be able to get away from their abuser because the abuser will not let them do so.
Take a look around you. One in every three women you see and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. This includes a range of behaviors (including slapping, shoving, pushing), and in some cases might not be considered “domestic violence.” That’s a pretty high number. This kind of thing is happening all around us and we probably don’t know it.
The sad thing is, being smart and educated, kind and empathetic, a good mom and a good wife – none of that prevents you from being abused. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence and there is no safeguard from it, even though we wish there was.
But what is even sadder is the stories women tell about how they and their children haven’t been believed. How someone has questioned if what they said really happened. How a family member sided with the abuser. How Child Protection Services came out and said that the bruises and pain he left weren’t bad enough to launch an investigation that might impinge upon his career. How family courts ignored the signs and put children into unsafe situations because they think that any dad is better than no dad.
It’s true that fathers are important, but what’s even more true is that kids need to be protected. It’s up to us adults to keep them safe.
The children affected by this is staggering, and can be considered the greatest health crisis of our time. More and more research is backing up that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) – such as witnessing abuse, being abused and experiencing your parents divorce – can be traced to a myriad of health and mental health issues that cost the world millions of dollars to treat.
Our series will look more closely at the women affected by intimate partner violence because they comprise the majority of those being abused and they are hurt more severely more often, but we recognize that men also find themselves in abusive relationships, as do those in same-sex relationships.
As I’ve chatted with people involved in domestic violence advocacy and the family court system here in Minnesota and around the country, one thing that is clear is our family court system hasn’t made enough progress in the area of intimate partner violence. It recognizes bruises and may hand out orders for protections for women, but it hasn’t stopped to consider the effect of that continued and ongoing abuse on children. It’s also stuck thinking that “It takes two to tango” when it can just take one disordered and mean individual determined to keep fighting and using the family court system to engage in domestic abuse via proxy. It is sad and hard to believe that some people will use their kids to keep hurting their exes for years – with no regard to the damage inflicted on their children.
Mothers know – and they’re pushing for change even while they are painted as vindictive, crazy and hysterical liars.
It’s past time that we listen when children tell us through their actions that they are in unsafe home environments. Next time you get frustrated by a kid with rebellious or aggressive behavior, consider the message they may be trying to tell you behind that “bad behavior.”
External signs of child abuse include:
• learning difficulties
• problems with relationships and socializing
• rebellious behavior
• aggressive and violent behavior
• anti-social behavior and criminality
• self-isolating behavior (making people dislike you)
• negative impulsive behavior (not caring what happens to yourself).
Signs of a child being emotional abused or in an emotional abusive home include:
• Appear continually withdrawn, anxious or depressed
• Display excessive fear of parents or caretakers
• Avoid doing things with other children
• Behave much younger than his or her age
• Behave older than their age e.g. ‘a little mother’
• Lag in physical, emotional or cognitive development
• Wet the bed
• Blame themselves for problems or believe they are ‘bad’
• Overreact when they make mistakes
• Have inappropriate reaction to pain, e.g. ‘I deserve this’
• Demonstrate neurotic behaviours such as hair twisting or rocking
• Self-harm or attempt suicide

If you are a victim experiencing abuse, contact Day One at 866-223-1111 to connect with services.

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