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We’re here to help you through this situation

We’re here to help you through this situation

Posted on 15 April 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Chad Kulas

It’s hard to read anything these days in the news not about COVID-19. The virus has spread throughout the world and in every state of the U.S. Here in Minnesota, we are not immune though we have been doing very well in many national rankings. Minnesotans have done a good job listening to direction, and taking necessary precautions as they stay at home and avoid taking unnecessary risks. A crisis like COVID-19 has two main problems – the health scare and the economic impact. The Midway Chamber has been doing what we can to help educate our members in a number of ways. I’ll share some here.

Tips on working from home
For many, this is a big adjustment. And to do it effectively, you should look at more than just firing up the laptop and using your cell phone. Do you have your laptop or desktop at an appropriate angle and distance from you? Is your office space well-lit and (as best as you can) free of distractions?
For most of us, we have become a lot more aware of virtual office tools like the Zoom call (and probably all had our moments where we forget we’re on mute or have the rogue child or pet in the background). Take a few minutes to look up tips for how to best use the new technologies and discover what works best for you.

Giving back
Hopefully your life hasn’t been too disrupted. If the worst thing is you now share an office space with your family, consider yourself lucky as many others cope with layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts. If you can, think of those in need at this time and give back. There are several nonprofits looking for help, as many of them now find themselves with a new set of challenges. If you sew, you could make masks for people to wear in public. Another way to give back is by getting take-out as our local restaurants are in desperate need of your support. You could even take to social media after ordering food (or beer as the taprooms are in business for take-out and delivery) and let everyone know who you’re supporting.

Finally, many businesses and residents need financial support. Thankfully, there are several programs available from all levels of the government to foundations like Otto Bremer. In Saint Paul, if you are a business with under $2 million of revenue and have been in operation in Saint Paul for at least three months you can apply for a Bridge Fund Grant of $7,500. At least 300 small businesses will receive the grant, with the checks expected to go in the mail late April or early May. A Bridge Fund is also available for residents with income at or below 40% of Area Median Income and at least one minor child under 18 in the household. There will be 1,000 households who receive $1,000 through the program. Bridge Fund applications are due April 19; for more information go to www.stpaul.gov.
While it may be hard to find news not about COVID-19, it is also hard to take walks and not see sidewalk chalk of inspirational messages from kids. Walks are a lifesaver during this time and positive messages from some of our youngest neighbors remind us that we will get through this, and hopefully take time to reflect and remember all we do have.
The Midway Chamber has a webpage dedicated to tips, resources and more related COVID-19 at www.midwaychamber.com/pages/Covid19.

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One walk, one family board game at a time

Posted on 15 April 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Gen Z: What we think

By Casey Hanson-Rosenberg

Casey Hanson-Rosenberg

Outside, the streets and playgrounds are barren and abandoned. The darken husks of tattoo parlors long for the college students who used to stop in without an appointment to get their boyfriend’s name tattooed onto their wrists. Inside, teenagers are still crying over math problems. Has anything really changed? This is not an academic roadblock that any of us planned for, and teenagers everywhere are learning to adapt.
Not having to commute to a location that is designated as a learning environment has taken a toll on our academic lives. I, along with my peers, feel that it’s far harder to perform with prime productivity in our personal palaces of passivity. The added stress of the current situation also makes it harder to focus on academics. The feeling that I’m not actually in school permeates as classes become an aberration and deadlines lose their gravity. The implementation of online schooling has helped bring a schedule back into our lives, but it is still hard to shake the general monotony and lethargy of doing all of your work in the same room.
This loss of structure has been a big blow to our mental health. On top of that, it has become harder to contact mental health specialists and school social workers. Without being able to see our friends in person, a lot of us are losing the social support systems that we used to rely on. Being stripped of the dopamine releases that we got from hugging, talking, and performing ritual sacrifices with our friends along with the current situation has thrown anxiety gasoline on the serotonin-deficient fire that is our collective mental health. In order to keep from feeling like the people from Plato’s Allegory of a cave, a lot of us have resorted to biking, hiking, or taking walks. We have all been taking things one walk around the neighborhood and family board game at a time. I have been able to spend so much more quality time with my family, which I appreciate and view as one of my largest and sturdiest anchors during this time.
A lot of us have begun taking up new hobbies and revisiting our past obsessions. I started sewing again, which I haven’t done in years. Having free time isn’t something that a lot of us are used to. With colleges getting more and more competitive, it feels like we are constantly supposed to be expanding our resume or bulking up on extracurriculars. This is the first time in a while that I have been able to take a breath. I am finally able to do things because I want to do them, and not because it would look good on a college application. ACTs being canceled and rescheduled in June has given us more time to study, although a lot of colleges are no longer requiring an ACT score. A break from the constant work frenzy that we are so well acquainted with is something that we all need during these times.
As graduations get canceled and our lives feel more and more like a YA novel, it can be hard to remain positive. I truly believe that my generation will come through this a stronger community. Every group chat and every zoom lecture makes us appreciate each other even more. As I look into my classmate’s eyes I can tell that we all hope that this is the only apocalypse that we live through.
Casey Hanson-Rosenberg is a junior at Great River School (1326 Energy Park Dr.). She hopes to major in journalism or creative writing in college.

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Go ahead: Let some things go and break a few house rules

Posted on 15 April 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Have a little grace

Amy Pass

By Amy Pass

I don’t really know what to tell you. Every person is so different, and what you need right now, in this time of pandemic, is different from what someone else might need. And some of your needs will change from day to day. Some of you will find solace in a new yoga practice, learning to play the ukulele, and doing virtual museum tours. Others need to take a nap, and snuggle on the couch watching movies.
You might need a good cry from time to time. Or a good run. Some of us need to read poetry and listen to the daily briefings every day at 2 p.m. All of us need to keep getting things done, despite the fact that we’re at home much more of the time and the dishes are piling up in the sink because we’re always home and we’re doing all the cooking and the projects are strewn from one end of the house to the other.
I don’t know what you should do. But I can tell you this one thing. We all need a little kindness right now. When you’re irritated with the way everyone else in your house is doing things and your child is melting down for the umpteenth time today, remember that everything has changed in the last few weeks. Even the grocery stores are different. Your family is feeling it, too. It’s ok to not keep it all together right now.
Now is the time to give in to things. You know how there’s some things that you never, ever do with your kids…not bad things, just conventional rules that you don’t break? But every once in a while you let it go just this one time? Like during the holidays or on birthdays? I don’t know what those rules are for you, but if you find that you’re falling apart or everyone else in your house is falling apart, it might be time to break one of those rules. As a treat.
If you feel like running away, chances are good that others in your house feel the same way. Is there a way to run away together? Can you pull together rather than pulling apart? What might running away look like in this time of pandemic? Maybe you look at each other and say, “I’m tired of this, too. Let’s have a picnic.” And maybe your picnic is in the yard or at the park or maybe it’s on the living room floor. Perhaps, running away is ordering ice cream from one of the local small businesses. Or watching the comedians on YouTube while drinking orange juice out of fancy glasses. Maybe it’s a video call with family or friends…while you’re all watching the same movie?
If you’re a couple without kids, these things still apply. Be kind. To yourself and each other. Let go of something that doesn’t matter. If you’re a single person, living alone, it’s even more important. When you’re tired of everything, it’s time to walk away from the shoulds and the oughts. Break out the fancy glasses and the phone calls or video chat.
Yes, of course, it’s important to find the new routine in daily life now, to eat nutritious food, get some exercise, sleep regularly, and get the work done. To be grateful for one thing every day. To do something for someone outside your family every day. I, personally, have been watching for the routines my family is settling into so that I can reinforce them, keep coming back to the same things. Developing a rhythm helps our brains to rest and eases some of the constant background stress. But it’s also important to let some things go. Maybe even one thing every day. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to each other. We are all fighting a hard battle.
Amy Pass earned her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Bethel Theological Seminary. But perhaps her greatest lessons have come from raising two children and maintaining a 21-year marriage.

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Hope for the Heartbroken

Hope for the Heartbroken

Posted on 15 April 2020 by Tesha Christensen

An inspired journey

“By combining doula work, funeral education work, and celebrant work, families can benefit from continuity of care that no one else is offering,” stated Angela Woosley of Inspired Journeys. (Photo submitted)

By Angela Woosley,

Over the past month, the Coronavirus pandemic has upended our lives, and many of us are struggling to adjust to the new normal. Unemployment, job insecurity, health scares, and general anxiety are common features of life during this topsy-turvy time. But for many of us, this pandemic comes at the absolute worst time – at a time of grief.
If someone you love has died, whether due to COVID-19 or not, it may feel like the world is spinning out of control. It’s common to feel out of sorts when we are grieving under normal circumstances, but with everything else we are experiencing, death of a loved one right now may feel like too much to handle. I want to offer some words of advice and comfort for those who need it most.

Take a deep breath
It’s okay to slow down and take a moment to gather your thoughts. Death is not an emergency, so if you are having trouble sorting through your jumbled ideas, press pause. Think about your wishes for a service and what you know about the deceased’s wishes for a service. Do you want burial or cremation? What kind of service do you want? Write your wishes down; sort through your thoughts over time. You can honor and remember your loved one the way you want, but it may look a little different. Be flexible with timing; don’t let anyone rush you.

Hang onto these moments
There’s a fair chance you were unable to be with the person who died just before their death. Most facilities aren’t allowing visitors in order to keep patient populations healthy. You are not alone in this heartbreak. Perhaps you can ask staff to take pictures of your loved one – a picture of their face, a picture of staff holding their hand – either before or after death. If you are able to be with the person you love, take pictures together. Times like this can be a blur; pictures can help us freeze these moments to help us remember and work through our grief later.

Be present with your grief
When you hurt with grief, it can hurt so much you may wish you could feel anything else. Grief is a healthy, natural reaction to losing someone we love, and it’s okay to sit with these feelings and experience them. Remember to eat and hydrate, then do what feels right. Light a candle, say a prayer, write a letter to them, draw for them, walk in nature, cry your eyes out, laugh your heart out, remember the best moments you shared. Share your grief with others and let them know what you need. Grief is not the time to be Minnesotan about it – ask people directly. They likely want to help but have no idea what to say or do. You’re doing them a favor to ask for their help.

Adapt your funeral
Due to limitations on gatherings, you may be planning a simple service with only a few people present. Don’t forget to include people remotely! With a Zoom meeting, Tribucast service, FaceBook Live, or other webcast/livestream service, you can include people from far and wide at the funeral. For folks who can’t participate online, let them know when the service will be and ask them to light a candle or say a prayer at that time. Look at your list of wishes and see what you can include in a service now.

Plan for the future
Next, think ahead to the coming months. Eventually, guidelines about social distancing will relax, allowing you to hold a celebration of life that incorporates the elements you can’t include now. To help you focus some of your energy (and possibly your feelings of grief), work on plans for that larger celebration of life now. Gather together their most treasured belongings, enlist friends to make handmade crafts, sort through photos for a video or picture board, make a playlist of songs, and find the perfect readings.

Advice you can ignore
One last note about planning: If your loved one “didn’t want you to make a fuss” about their death and asked you to keep it simple, you are allowed to take that advice with a grain of salt. We come together to honor, remember, and grieve for the person we loved, but more than anything, grief rituals are for US, the living. Rabbi Earl Grollman might have said it best: Grief shared is grief diminished. Find those points of connection and share your grief with rituals that speak to your love and your loss. The person you have lost is worth it.
Angela Woosley is a trained mortician, educator, end-of-life doula and celebrant who recently started Inspired Journeys in the Twin Cities, the first of its kind natural deathcare provider.

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What’s up with the zebra?

What’s up with the zebra?

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Tesha M. Christensen

Too Much Coffee

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN, Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com

What’s with the zebra?
You may have noticed a zebra show up on the front page of the Monitor. Maybe you noticed a smaller one at the bottom of page four in our information box with a little notice:
The Monitor is for profit and for a purpose – and we don’t sacrifice one for the other. We consider ourselves a zebra company, one that is both black and white. As a media company, we work to highlight issues, solve real, meaningful problems, and repair existing social systems. We are working with our readers and advertisers to create a more just and responsible society that hears, helps and heals the customers and communities we serve.
Yes, I’ve been binge listening to the podcast ZigZag with journalists-turned-entrepreneurs Manoush Zomorodi (Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business) and Jen Poyant (Executive Producer Note to Self, 2 Dope Queens). This season has hit upon so many of the issues I’m thinking about as a journalist and entrepreneur that I’m glued to the speakers.
I’ve been pondering the distinction of for-profit and non-profit for some time. Here, in the Twin Cities, we have a few non-profit newspapers, such as the Bugle in St. Anthony Park, the Alley in Phillips, the Community Reporter in the West End of St. Paul, and Access Press (statewide). And then we have the neighborhood for-profits including the Midway Como Frogtown Monitor and its sister newspaper the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger, Greening Frogtown, the Northeaster, North News, the Villager, and Southside Pride.
What is different between us? There’s the obvious distinction that the non-profits have a board of directors who set the direction for the organization, while the for-profits have a single owner or two who make decisions. But aside from that, both structures pay editors, publishers, freelance photographers and writers, and sales staff. Pages are paid for primarily through advertising revenue, of which some is through grants and some via neighborhood groups. And both types of newspapers exist to educate and inform, serving that vital role in our democracy that’s integral to our First Amendment rights as American citizens.
When I set up TMC Publications, I considered going with a new(ish) form of corporation, the B (or benefit) Corp. Locally, Peace Coffee is a certified B Corp. At the end of their 20th year when they switched from non-profit to for-profit status under the helm of new owner Lee Wallace, Peace Coffee began searching for ways to further solidify their mission to creating good by supporting small-scale farmer cooperatives with industry-leading prices and committing to earth-friendly practices along the way (as explained on their web site). They learned about the B Corporation movement, a global initiative of businesses in every industry that see profit as secondary to the importance of people and planet, and they signed up.
However, as TMC Publications is a relatively small company, I wasn’t sure that B Corp really made sense for us, as it would increase our paperwork while not really changing how we do business.
Then I heard about Zebras.
Zebras believe in cooperation versus competition, sharing versus hoarding, mutualism versus parasitism. They are both/and, black and white. The point is to be sustainable, to offer good jobs at living wages, but not to grow so exponentially that we break apart. (Learn more at www.zebrasunite.com.)
According to Zebras United founding members Jennifer Brandel, Mara Zepeda, Astrid Scholz and Aniyia Williams, this alternative model balances profit and purpose, champions democracy, and puts a premium on sharing power and resources. “Companies that create a more just and responsible society will hear, help, and heal the customers and communities they serve,” they explained over at Medium.com. (I resonated so much with that line that I pulled it for our infomational box on page four so that I can continue to be inspired by it.)
Interestingly, zebra companies are often started by women and other underrepresented founders, they point out. The statistics about who gets large, venture funding is terrible but maybe not surprising as we see how sexism nad rascism is still ingrained in our society. Three percent of venture funding goes to women and less than one percent to people of color. Women start 30 percent of businesses, but they receive only 5 percent of small-business loans and 3 percent of venture capital. Yet when surveyed, women say they are in it for the long haul: to build profitable, sustainable companies.
These four women who began Zebras United believe that developing alternative business models to the startup status quo has become a central moral challenge of our time. “Think of our most valuable institutions – journalism, education, healthcare, government, the ‘third sector’ of nonprofits and social enterprises – as houses upon which democracy rests,” they wrote.
Ah, yes. There’s the place for journalism.
That’s where I see this field that is so important to our society.
Here at the Monitor, I’m not planning to make millions as an owner, and I’m content telling the stories of these neighborhoods. I believe it is important to provide connection, battle the anxiety and depression so prevalent today, and educate ourselves on the issues we face.
That requires cooperation. We can’t run quality articles without solid information from residents and organizations. And we can’t print pages, pay workers decent wages, and inform without solid financial backing from local businesses who support our work.
We’re in this together.
I’d love to hear what you think as your wrestle with these ideas. Send in a letter to the editor.
(Psst – Mention this editorial and your support for zebras and get 20% off your next ad purchase.)

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What’s brewing west of downtown?

What’s brewing west of downtown?

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Recently, a group of community-minded people met at Urban Growler Brewing to talk about the merits of the part of Saint Paul west of downtown. Initially, they called it “Midtown” but the name may change, perhaps to “Capitol West.”
At the meeting, as well as follow-up conversations, a diverse group of community leaders have participated which have included developers, small business owners, district councils, construction companies, nonprofits, elected officials and others from local government. The group is led by Dr. Bruce Corrie, a member of the higher education community and local community supporter. A steering committee is made up of community organizations including the Union Park District Council, the Midway Chamber of Commerce, local government, nonprofits and business.
What are they trying to accomplish?
The two big questions are 1) How can we encourage economic activities in the region? 2) How can we connect residents, especially low-income residents, to jobs and wealth building opportunities in the region?
How can they accomplish these goals? One viable option is a jobs board (or job exchange) where employers can search for job candidates and job seekers can find out what jobs are available. The exchange may also be able to connect with other job boards already in use. The exchange would be free to users and would feature resume uploads with the ability to receive notifications for new opportunities. A user could search for jobs by zip code or region, and resumes could get matched with jobs.
One potential benefit of the job exchange is getting more residents to work near their home. It is estimated around 32% of the employed residents in this area work in Saint Paul. Getting more residents to work in their community means reducing their carbon footprint, travel time to work and residents will feel a closer connection to their community.
Why focus on this area? There are an estimated 3,900 businesses with over 81,000 employees, with an annual payroll over $3.4 billion (in zip codes 55103, 55104, 55105, 55108, 55114, 55116 and 55117). It includes major commercial corridors including University Ave.and Snelling Ave., and major redevelopment sites including the Ford site and near Allianz Field. The area is diverse (35.5 percent minority) and 46 percent of the residents rent.
Being able to connect more businesses with residents can help raise income levels and create more stability. Another point of interest for the Midtown group is to help job seekers acquire skills which will lead to career advancement.
What’s next for the group?
• Getting into more detail on how to better connect job seekers with local employers.
• Determining what the job exchange needs in order to be successful and get it functioning.
The group will be meeting again in the coming month – those interested in learning more or wishing to participate may contact Dr. Bruce Corrie at brucecorrie@gmail.com.

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Letters to the Editor March 2020

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Thanks for sharing story on overlooked dark side

Dear Editor:
I wanted to thank you and Leigh Ann Block for her bravely for coming forward to share her story about her daughter Mikayla Olson Tester.
It is such a sad story and of course Leigh had to relive it all over again. How brave of her!!
Thank you, Tesha, for reporting carefully and eloquently an often overlooked dark side of our society.

Corinne S. Rockstad


Consider MN Tool Library

Dear Editor:
It will be sad to see Hamline Hardware Hank close their doors after serving the community for so long. We wish Jim, Jan and all their staff success and happiness in their next endeavors. We realize this may be unhappy news for people with ongoing or upcoming projects, but we’d like you to know there is another resource close-by that can help local residents obtain the tools they’d need to continue maintaining their homes and property. It is the Midway branch of the Minnesota Tool Library.
Our library has thousands of home-repair, yard-work, and other tools, including power tools, available to lend out. Our knowledgeable staff and volunteers can help you select the tools you need and plan your project. We teach classes on home-repair and other topics, and we also have a shop space with larger equipment members can use. We’re located in the same building as Can Can Wonderland near Prior and Minnehaha. Please visit us Friday evenings or Saturday and Sunday during the day, or at www.mntoollibrary.org.

Thank you,
Bruce Willey
MN Tool Library Member and Volunteer

The latent cost of potholes in Saint Paul

Dear Editor:
“Pothole-related auto repair costs average $306, but some unfortunate drivers wind up paying more than $1,000 to fix the damage,” according to AAA Exchange website. This is a hefty price for drivers to pay, even in a great economy, and especially in Saint Paul, where potholes seem ubiquitous.
Currently, the city of Saint Paul has a pothole problem, and this problem impacts more than just the citizen driver. These potholes impact the government drivers as well, local, city, and state vehicles. This includes (but is not limited to) public works vehicles, city buses, school buses, police and fire vehicles, etc.
Perhaps, the cost of repairs and maintenance on these vehicles, let alone the cost to the average citizen of Saint Paul, add up to huge losses for our state and local government. Count the number of government vehicles you see in a single day.
The price we pay for potholes also impacts what we don’t use that money for, this is basic economics. The cost to repair damage caused by potholes this year, depletes funds for government vehicles next year, and for years to come. Money not spent on these repairs could go to something else, name any of the multitude of policies the mayor and city council can think up.
Neglecting our pothole-covered streets costs us all in extra services to our vehicles, all encompassed, citizen and government vehicles alike. The latent costs of pothole-related repairs may be measured by increased taxes each year, as requested by the leaders of our city; furthermore, it may be measured in higher taxes statewide, requested by our state government. Minnesota has the fifth highest tax burden nationally.
Think about that cost the next time you hit a pothole on your commute through Saint Paul, you aren’t the only one taking on damage. City and state vehicles are hitting them, as well. And this is hitting their pocketbook, which is hitting your pocketbook. The two are correlated, as are the costs of repairs and the amount you pay in tax dollars.
That money could have gone into our schools, lowering our crime rates, or into programs that help our neighbors experiencing homelessness in Minnesota.
Pothole related damages are costly to all in our city, especially in future costs. Waiting to repair these potholes will have a greater less obvious cost to all: higher taxes for things those repair costs could have paid for but don’t.

Terry Scott Niebeling

Responsibility for taking gender out belongs to men

Dear Editor:
I’m writing this letter in response to one published in the February Monitor.
Mr Mark Brandt wrote, in response to your article “It should never have happened,“ to suggest a “slight rewrite” to a sentence on page 2, column 3: “Like many men, he didn’t really start showing his abusive side until…”.
Mr Brandt suggested “Like many eventual abusers…”, claiming that “would take the gender out of it,” as he felt the sentence you wrote “was a little unfair to my gender.”
I suggest the responsibility for taking the gender out of domestic violence belongs to the 71% of abusers who are men. They are the only ones who can do this, by stopping their abuse of women, children, and other men.
There are, of course, two genders involved. The gender of the victims is mostly female, except for half of the children.
Reading about domestic violence often elicits automatic reactions from women (“If my partner ever raised a hand to me, I’d be out of there immediately.”) and men (“But what about women who abuse men?”).
Please, before shutting off what you’re reading with an automatic response, listen to the end of the story. Then look for more information about domestic violence. These excellent articles include a lot of information. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is another good resource.

Helen Hunter
St Paul

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To the Editor Feb 2020

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

We are not believed about our own lives
Dear Editor:
Thank you for interviewing Leigh Ann Block and, presumably, believing her story. Unlike the lawyers, judges and social workers who cared more about giving the violent man who would murder her daughter “a chance to demonstrate good behavior.”
I could have lost either or both of my children to their abusive father many years ago. But they and I – were luckier than Mikayla and Leigh.
I had decent lawyers for my divorce, unlike Martha Eaves of SMRLS. But I knew that most people, and most professionals involved in divorce and custody cases, think women trying to protect our children from violent men in their lives are making up stories to get revenge. That’s the baseline wrong done to Leigh, Mikayla and so many other victims of abuse, most of which is perpetrated by men.
We are not believed about our own lives and our children’s lives, and the violent men in our lives. My children’s father was a – now retired – Presbterian minister. You think most people believed me about his violence, his refusal to recognize other people’s rights or boundaries, his resentment at “having to be a good boy”?
My children are grown, and caring, nonviolent, great people, We’ve survived. But part of me will feel safer when that man is dead.
Thank you, Leigh Ann, for your love and courage to keep going after being abused by that monster, suffering your little daughter’s murder, and having your warnings ignored by people who should have paid attention.
It’s a disease of “professionals,” of “experts,” to think they know better than the people who come to them for help. Doctors, lawyers, cops, judges, social workers, even some teachers and mental health workers have this disease. People die every day because of this disease of arrogance, distrust of women, racism.
Thank you again for writing this. I’m sure you’ll receive a lot of letters like mine.
Helen Hunter
St Paul
Impactful series in wake of triple murder by father
Dear Editor:
Just finished reading your two stories about domestic abuse in the most recent edition of the Monitor. Very impactful writing, especially with the tragedy today in south Minneapolis, demonstrating the worst outcome of an abusive relationship.
May I offer a correction of the name for one of the resources for those in an abusive relationship? You referred to the “Alexander House”; I believe you meant the Alexandra House in Blaine.
Joel Carter

What about men who are abused by women?
Dear Editor:
I received the newspaper today, and read the article about Leigh Ann Block and her late daughter Mikayla. The story is at once heartbreaking and frustrating, and I thank you for writing it. I admire Ms. Block’s activism, and I wish she could find more peace of mind, though given what happened, that may not be possible.
I wanted to bring up one sentence from the article, that I’m kind of stuck on. It’s on page 2, column 3, 4th full paragraph: “Like many men, he didn’t really start showing his abusive side until…..”
I feel like doing a slight rewrite on the first phrase of that sentence. Maybe something like “Like many eventual abusers….” This phrase takes gender out of it (since women are abusers, too, though not nearly as often as men) and it also shrinks the pool from all males to just abusive people. As written, that sentence struck me as a little unfair to my gender.
But I’m nitpicking, and I’ll stop now. Thanks again for the article – it was an engrossing account of a very sad situation.
Have a Happy New Year,
Mark Brandt

Editor’s note: While it is definitely true both males and females can be abusive, the majority of abusers are men, and the majority of violent abusers are men. Many do argue that while both genders employ power and control dynamics, it is significantly worse for women. This isn’t something everyone agrees on, though, and is currently a hot discussion topic with the recent renaming of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women to Violence Free Minnesota.
I hope that the graphic that accompanied the article you’re referring to helped put things in perspective by showing the exact breakdown of murders by father/mother/etc. according to the Center for Judicial Excellence.

I hope fellow dog park users attend Area C meeting on Feb. 20
Dear Editor:
As a visitor to dog parks along the river, community member concerned about water quality, and kayaker, I am looking forward to learning more about the impact of Ford’s Area C dumpsite to river water quality downstream of Hidden Falls later this month.
What is known about the pollutants from paint solvents and sludge that were buried in the now fenced-off area just upstream from Hidden Falls? Are they getting into the river? Will the area and water in the river be monitored and cleaned up before development happens over the Area C site? I first heard about this issue because I work at Friends of the Mississippi River, but I imagine many fellow residents want to know the answers to these and other questions, too.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s public meeting is coming up on Thursday, Feb. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S. I hope fellow dog park users, river lovers or concerned citizens will attend so people can learn more about what is going on and where we go from here.

Thank you,
Jennifer Schuetz Hadley
Hamline Midway resident

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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


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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