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Features (left to right): Yolanda Bruce, Greta Oglesby, and Tonia Hughes


Showtimes at the Capri • 7 p.m. Saturday, January 9 • 3 p.m. Sunday, January 10

Sanford Moore’s “My First Loves” returns to renovated Capri Theater

Tickets online at

January 4 - January 10, 2010 • MN Metro Vol. 36 No. 1 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts •

Land Bank: An unprecedented response By Al McFarlane, Editor, Insight News, and Nghi Huynh, Publisher, Asian American Press Tom Fulton, President of the Family Housing Fund, said the Fund and nonprofit organizations created the Twin Cities Community Land Bank to assemble the kinds of resources that are needed for communities to do redevelopment for themselves. The Bank has marshaled over $30 million to date and is seeking to acquire or leverage upwards of $100 million to address the housing crisis in Twin Cities. “The neighborhoods have been hard hit by the mortgage foreclosure crisis. We have a situation where we have so many foreclosed homes, that unless we find a way to get control of those


Byron Pitts interview: Stepping Out On Nothing inspires



Rebecca Rom and Shawn Huckleby


Photos: Suluki Fardan

Raymond Dehn announces run for Senate District 58 New Year’s

By Lydia Schwartz Contributing Writer For State Senate District 58, which includes the Northside of Minneapolis and part of downtown, Raymond Dehn is building a grassroots movement to defeat DFL incumbent Sen. Linda Higgins. Dehn says he is “not so much running against Linda Higgins” as just trying to get different representation for the community. Higgins was first elected in 1996 and currently serves on the Finance; Health, Housing and Family Security; and Judiciary Committees. Her main legislative concerns have been housing, early childhood issues, health, communities of color, and the environment. Dehn is running for State Senator because he believes that politics have become increasingly polarized, even to the point that winning is more important than doing what is right for the people of the

Resolutions: Set goals to win in 2010


Raymond Dehn community and the State of Minnesota. In recent decades, he says, “the national and state economies have gone through booms and busts. The Northside didn’t ever see any benefits, but the community has been impacted by the burden…The people of our district need a Senator who understands that the status quo is not working for our community.” In addition to holding fundraisers, Dehn’s campaign has been holding a series of ‘meet-and-greets’ in which he



Family of Nigerian bomb suspect pens open letter

Suluki Fardan

Minneapolis Urban League President & CEO Scott Gray receives a Comcast Foundation $17,500 check to support the League’s Project Ready program for at-risk youth who are preparing to apply to college, from Diana Hawkins, Comcast Senior Government Affairs Professional and MUL board member Al McFarlane.

Comcast grant supports Urban League education programs At the December board meeting of the Minneapolis Urban League (MUL), President & CEO Scott Gray received a check for $17,500 from the Comcast Foundation to support Project Ready. Project Ready is an after school program that helps at-risk youth stay in school

and prepare for college. Students enrolled in Project Ready work on mastering basic skills and prepare for PSAT, SAT and ACT tests. In addition they develop their college portfolios, complete college applications and apply for financial aid and scholarships. The Comcast funds

will specifically support the program’s digital and financial literacy activities as students prepare to go to college. “The Project Ready curriculum requires students to be in the program four days a week, three hours a day for a


Black Caucus to press for public

Special to the NNPA from GIN

option in final Health Care Bill By Hazel Trice Edney NNPA Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Abdulmutallab said he had warned U.S. embassy officials of his son’s possible links to an al Qaeda organization possible links to an al Qaeda organization that grew out of a visit to Yemen and his studies in London. Although his son, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was added to the terrorist watch list, he was



WASHINGTON (NNPA) – As U. S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives prepare to negotiate to combine the two distinctly different health care bills, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are vowing once again to push for a public option to make the final bill affordable for their largely African-American and low income constituencies. In a joint statement released just before the Senate’s longawaited Christmas Eve passage of the bill, progressive leaders CBC Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Congressional Progressive Caucus

Co-chair Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), said, “If the bill requires people to buy health insurance, there must be a public option to bring down costs by providing lower-cost competition to private insurers and choice to consumers.” This assertion implies possibly acrimonious debate before the final version goes back before both houses for final passage and ultimately to the White House for signing by President Obama. The public option barely squeaked by when the House passed the bill by five votes the first time 220-215 November 7. The Senate left the public option out of the bill because it was a deal-breaker for conservative Democrats. The bill passed 60-39, disabling a filibuster

Mac Walton: Gentle writer, counselor, leader




expressing shock and prayers (GIN) - The family of a young Nigerian traveler, who allegedly attempted to detonate a powerful explosive while travelling to Detroit from Amsterdam, has issued a statement that provides more details of the alleged conversion of their son to extremist beliefs. The statement was prepared by the suspect’s father, Dr. Alhaji Umaru Abdulmutallab, a banker and a member of Nigeria’s powerful ruling elite. He had been identified early in the course of the near-disaster by a Nigerian website. According to the story as it first appeared on, an anti-corruption website produced by Nigerians, Dr. Abdulmutallab said he had warned U.S. embassy officials of his son’s


CBC Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Brett Favre

by Republicans with the 60 votes or three-fifths of the Senate. Fiftyeight senators were joined by two Independents.

saga waggles through NFL history




Page 2 •January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Insight News

BUSINESS In 2010 resolve to restyle and rebuild your life Plan your career

By Julie Desmond If you can look back to January, 2008, and tell me nothing has changed, everything for you is

exactly as it was this week last year, I will eye you with admiration, wondering who you are and how you escaped 2009. For the rest of us, this was a year of change in many colors. Some lost jobs, some lost homes, some lost faith. In response to the chaos of 2009, let’s resolve this year to seek jurisdiction over change, rebuilding physically, professionally, politically, emotionally and spiritually. Restyle Physically. Avoid the age-old resolution to

diet, and make a promise to get yourself what you need physically: exercise, nutrition, meditation, sporting events, music, whatever keeps you in shape. Some people need to help others to feel well physically. Some people need sleep. Others thrive on conversation. Consider what you need from the inside out, and help yourself feel better this year. Restyle Professionally. Working or not, you likely will have opportunities to rethink

your career this year. Many companies are changing the ways they do business, from going greener to going leaner. Be intensely aware of your gifts, interests and talents, and go there professionally this year. Restyle Politically. Get involved. You can easily drive the changes you seek in your workplace, school and community by simply showing up. Your phone calls and emails have a profound impact on those making decisions on your behalf.

Restyle Emotionally. Attitude. It is everything. Approach the world from a place of curiosity, humor, openness, and you may find the world opening up to you as well. Watch it, though. A good attitude can slip away in the face of adversity. Notice when your outlook turns sour and make the effort it takes to rethink and recover. Restyle Spiritually. Consider that you might not be the uppermost being in this universe, and let some of your

troubles rest on other shoulders. Explore your faith and listen to your instincts. You may change direction based on a gut feeling, and that’s fine. Your gut sometimes knows what it’s talking about. Julie Desmond is Director of Career Planning Resources with Help Wanted! Workshop in Minneapolis. Write to

More will be eligible for Earned Income Tax Credits in 2009 tax season By Rosemary K. Heins, University of Minnesota Extension The upcoming tax filing season brings several tax credit changes due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) that will increase tax refunds for many. A major change for low- to moderate-income families is the Earned Income Tax

Credit (EITC). ARRA legislation increased eligibility for those with three or more eligible children in the household. So what does this mean? Here are the 2009 earning levels for EITC: • $35,463 if you have one child in your home • $40,295 if you have two children in your home • $43,279 if you have three or more children in your home • If you don’t have children, made less than $13,440, and were

between the ages of 25 and 64 years during 2009, you may be eligible, too. Add $5,000 to the figures if you are married and filing jointly. Remember, getting refunds through EITC normally has no effect on a person’s or family’s ability to get food or cash assistance, Social Security, Medical Assistance or subsidized housing programs. These tax credits are available to eligible workers even if they didn’t have

enough job income to be required to file tax forms. In other words, if you’re eligible and don’t owe any income tax, you may still get money back, but you must file federal tax forms to get the money. In addition, you qualify for the Minnesota Working Family Credit by filing a Minnesota income tax form. There are other ARRA tax credits that will help families in the coming tax season. For more information visit the Internal

Revenue Service website at If you need help with the tax paperwork, contact VITA, which stands for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. This free tax help will be available at sites all over Minnesota but sites generally don’t open until the end of January or early February. This is because employers have until January 31 to issue W-2 forms. There is also free electronic filing software online from the IRS

website at and the Minnesota Department of Revenue website at w w w. t a x e s . s t a t e . m n . u s / . It’s important to have all needed documentation together prior to filing income tax forms. Information on free tax filing programs in Minnesota is available through United Way First Call for Help at 211 or (800) 543-7709.

RushCard announces industry’s most convenient card-to-card funds transfer feature RushCard announced the availability of its new, highlydemanded card-to-card funds transfer feature. The feature offers unparalleled convenience and affordability to those who want to transfer money between Prepaid Visa® RushCards, and it comes just in time for the income tax refund season. With the new card-to-card funds transfer, RushCard members can instantly transfer money at a fraction of the cost they’d pay to move money through leading wire transfer services. A RushCard member

can now transfer funds to another member’s card at a low, flat rate, and they can transfer funds between their own RushCards for free. Transfer fees with other services can be eight to ten times higher to move the same amount of money. All funds transfers can be completed in minutes online at or over the telephone with a customer service agent. Also, card-to-card funds transfers can be easily executed on a mobile phone and regular funds transfers can be

scheduled months in advance. RushCard is the only prepaid debit card that allows its members to schedule transfers in advance. “By giving our members the ability to move funds via a mobile phone and to schedule their money transfers in advance, RushCard has changed the game for funds transfers,” said entrepreneur and philanthropist Russell Simmons. Simmons launched RushCard to help people without a traditional banking relationship gain the access to the financial services and

respect that they deserve. “No one should be forced to pay higher fees to transfer muchneeded money to a loved one or to save. Now, RushCard gives them a very convenient, much more affordable way to make these important transactions.” Direct deposit of tax refunds is a safe and easy way to manage the new windfall of cash. The new card-to-card transfer functionality rewards that sound money management practice, company officials said. “Thanks to their tax refund, many people have extra funds

in the early part of the year to send to others or to save” said Ram Palaniappan, general manager of the RushCard. “With our newest feature, our members can quickly and easily send money to college students or other loved ones in need, or transfer the funds onto their own secondary RushCard as a way to save. Our members really wanted this feature, and we are proud to offer it for a mere fraction of what others charge.” In addition to card-to-card funds transfers, RushCard members also enjoy industry-

leading online budget management tools that allow them keep track of their expenses and avoid costly financial woes. Soon, RushCard will announce even more incentives to encourage direct deposit during the 2010 tax season. Anyone interested in applying for a RushCard can apply online at, or call the toll-free member services line at 1 (866) RUSHCARD.

Insight News • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Page 3

City, community ready to start planning for future park on West 7th With signatures from ExxonMobil, Saint Paul officials and community members said they are ready to start planning for the future park that will go where oil tanks once stood on West 7th Street. The Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and ExxonMobil signed off on an agreement that will transfer 36 acres in the Victoria Park neighborhood for $1, with ExxonMobil also providing $5 million for clean-up and redevelopment of the former industrial land into park land. ExxonMobil and the city came to

the agreement in October, ending years of discussion over the future of the land. “This property along West Seventh has been vacant for too long. Finally, we can develop this land into a community asset and continue the redevelopment that is creating new opportunities for residents and businesses in a key commercial corridor,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “Working collaboratively, ExxonMobil and the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of the City of Saint Paul have developed a plan that will benefit both the environment and the citizens of

Saint Paul,” said Kim Moore, regional program coordinator, ExxonMobil Environmental Services. “This agreement provides both the land and substantial funds to the HRA to complete the current site restoration efforts and eventually give the community a beautiful park - an excellent outcome for all parties with benefits extending well into the future.” The property bordered by West 7th Street, Otto Avenue, Shepard Road and Montreal Way is part of the 65-acre Victoria Park development. All the 65 acres once housed oil tanks, with the

other 29 acres operated by Koch Refinery Co. Both Koch and ExxonMobil shut down the operations in 1995, opening the development opportunities. “Many years ago, the West Seventh Street neighborhood came together to develop a plan to redevelop a polluted industrial site in our midst. Now the end is in sight and Exxon’s willingness to settle our case will give our neighborhood more park and recreation space that will increase the viability of the planned housing development with a park on the bluffs of the Mississippi River,” said Councilmember Dave

Thune, whose ward includes the Victoria Park land. Already, the Koch portion of the land has attracted new developments, including townhomes, a senior housing complex operated by Sholom Community Alliance, and a new Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op. Community members say adding an active park to the residential and commercial space will continue the neighborhood’s transformation from it’s industrial past. “This is a real opportunity to create an asset that benefits all of Saint Paul,” said David

Bredemus, president of the Fort Road Federation. “This will give us the space to do some great things with trails and other recreational uses the community comes up with. This is going to be a real spectacular spot.” Mike Hahm, director of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department, said work with the community will begin after the first of the year to determine a design for the park that will benefit the neighborhood and complement the city’s park system.

Take baby steps in making financial resolutions By Jason Alderman At this time of year, many people pause to reflect on what they’d like to change about their lives going forward – lose a few pounds, take a class, spend more time with the kids. Often, these goals revolve around personal finances. But if you’ve been battered by economic forces beyond your control (as many have recently), it may be tough to craft financial resolutions ambitious enough to have a real impact on your situation – especially if you fear that unforeseen obstacles may

later force you to scale them back or even lose ground. That’s why I urge taking baby steps – setting small, meaningful objectives that provide a sense of accomplishment and that you can ramp up when your situation improves. Here are a few examples: Scale back expenses. If you can’t make a big dent in your monthly costs, like refinancing your mortgage or selling an unneeded vehicle to eliminate a car payment, look for lots of little dents that can add up: Save $10 a week by having one less fast food meal and to-go coffee; or rent a DVD instead of

going out to the movies – that might save about $500 a year. Lower the thermostat in the winter by 1 degree and save 3 to 5 percent on your utility bill – saving $5 a month equals $60 a year. Drive slower. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph costs about $0.24 per gallon of gas. Properly inflate your tires, keep the engine tuned and cut out aggressive driving habits and you’ll save even bigger bucks. Shop around for better home and car insurance rates, and consider raising low deductibles. (Just make sure your coverage has kept pace with inflation.)

Balance your checkbook. Even though many banks have recently lowered fees for bounced checks and overdrafts, one a month at $25 a pop adds up to $300 a year. Build an emergency fund. Financial experts usually recommend stowing three to six months’ expenses in an emergency fund. That’s a good long-term goal, but if it’s not currently realistic, don’t simply give up without trying – stash some of the cash you’re saving above, a few dollars each month. You won’t miss it and might just be saved from having to take out an expensive short-term loan to

cover emergency car repairs or an overdue electric bill. Get organized. Even if you can’t afford to pay off all bills in full each month, at least know where you stand regarding due dates, minimum payments due and credit limits so you don’t inadvertently rack up higher interest rates or damage your credit score. If you’re a chronic procrastinator, set up automatic bill payment with your bank – it’ll save on postage as well. Stick to your budget. If you don’t have a budget, make this the year you create one. Numerous online tools are available to help. For example, Practical Money

Skills for Life, Visa Inc.’s free personal financial management program ( budgeting), features budgeting worksheets and calculators, guidelines for living within your means, budgeting recommendations for back-toschool, holiday spending, travel, and much more. Jason Alderman directs Visas financial education programs. Sign up for his free monthly eNewsletter at wsletter.

Low inflation leaves tax deductions mostly unchanged By Jason Alderman When it comes to inflation, 2009 was a good news/bad news kind of year – with a few mixed messages thrown in for good measure. According to one widely used inflation measurement, the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for urban consumers (CPI-U), the rate of inflation actually fell for the quarter ending September 30, 2009, compared to the same period a year earlier. Remember, gasoline prices, which spiked during 2008 and impacted numerous other expenses, subsided considerably in 2009.

Those whose bills have continued to rise probably would debate whether it was actually cheaper to live in 2009 than in 2008. Regardless, this is an important statistic because the IRS uses the third-quarter CPI-U to determine whether dozens of tax-related numbers such as income tax bracket limits and maximum retirement savings plan contributions will stay the same or increase in the following tax year. The good news is that although many savers feared that retirement plan contribution limits might actually drop for the first time ever, the IRS determined that provisions in the Social Security Act prohibit such

reductions. The bad news, for those who would have liked to increase such contributions next year, is that they cannot do so. Even worse, because inflation was so low, for the first time in decades, Social Security beneficiaries will not receive a costof-living benefit increase in 2010, even though Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) premiums are expected to rise. On the mixed news front, the IRS left unchanged most tax deductions that are subject to annual inflation adjustments, although a few did creep up slightly. Here’s a summary of some common tax benchmarks:

Federal personal tax exemptions remain constant at $3,650 per individual. The standard tax deduction for heads of households increases by just $50 to $8,400. It remains unchanged at $11,400 for married couples filing jointly and $5,700 for singles and those who are married but file separately. Various tax bracket thresholds will increase slightly – for example, the threshold between the 15 percent and 25 percent tax brackets for married couples filing jointly increases by $100 to $68,000. The annual gift tax exclusion remains unchanged at $13,000. The Social Security taxable

wage base (upper income limit subject to Social Security taxes) remains unchanged at $106,800. The maximum annual contribution to 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans remains unchanged at $16,500 (plus an additional $5,500 for those over age 50). The annual limit for combined employee and employer contributions to such plans remains at $49,000. The maximum contribution to a regular or Roth IRA remains unchanged at $5,000 (those aged 50 and older can contribute an additional $1,000). Married couples filing jointly will see the amount they can contribute to a Roth IRA gradually

phased out if their adjusted gross income exceeds $167,000 – a $1,000 increase over 2009’s level; the phase-out limitation floor for others remains unchanged at $105,000. Check for other 2010 tax changes. Bottom line: In 2010, inflation pays a very minor role in terms of tax threshold changes compared to previous years. Jason Alderman directs Visas financial education programs. Sign up for his free monthly e-Newsletter a t letter.

Page 4 • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Insight News

EDUCATION Audit of 15 key SPPS academic initiatives Last week Saint Paul Public Schools Superintendent Valeria Silva and Dr. Douglas Reeves of the Leadership and Learning

Center (LLC) shared summary findings of an Implementation Audit of 15 key SPPS academic initiatives. The Audit will help

SPPS determine both the extent to which the initiatives are implemented at the school and district level, and also the extent to which the initiatives are linked to student achievement. The purpose of the Implementation Audit™, according to the LLC, is to neither criticize nor recommend a particular program, but rather to reveal the actual level of implementation and impact on student achievement so that system-level leaders can make wise decisions about the allocation of time, energy and money. This is the first time SPPS has

conducted such an extensive and thorough review of academic initiatives. The audit will provide information to the district in order to help focus, and ultimately reduce, initiatives to those with the best chance of improving student achievement. The goal, as part of the 2010-11 budget process, is to re-align district resources to the areas most likely to help improve student achievement. Among the key findings in the audit: • SPPS needs to focus on fewer initiatives with greater depth. • SPPS senior leadership has a

clear and specific vision. • Principals and teachers are clearly focused on achievement and equity. • District leaders and school principals need to clarify and specify expectations for instructional coaching. • SPPS is rich in data, but more principals and teachers could use the data in specific and detailed ways to improve instruction and make leadership decisions. • Time requirements for initiatives need to correspond to capacity and needs. • Professional development needs to more carefully match specific teacher and administrator needs. The relationship between implementation of initiatives and gains in student achievement is generally low-due to fragmentation of support and multiple initiatives happening at once. High degrees of implementation of several SPPS initiatives are related to gains in achievement. Audit results for five initiatives-Writer’s Workshop, Everyday Math, Content-Focused Coaching, Professional Learning Communities, and Language Skills Block-indicate a strong positive correlation between higher levels of implementation and substantive increases in student achievement. Other audited initiatives need further analysis. Next steps regarding the audit include fully reviewing and analyzing the information contained in the report. Very shortly, the district’s Senior Leadership Team will appoint an

audit to the project team to fully analyze findings and prepare a report with preliminary recommendations to the Superintendent by January 29, 2010. The project team is expected to include a combination of central administrative staff, principals, and teachers, and to use a non-biased expert facilitator. The district’s Center for Professional Development, the Office of Accountability and school executive directors will provide support to school principals in early January for the analysis of local school data contained in the audit. Between mid-January and early March, district leadership will be working to align the draft audit recommendations to the budget development process while also gathering input for both. Shortly after winter break, staff, families and community members can expect a number of communications about engagement opportunities related to the combined budget and audit recommendation process. The Superintendent plans to make decisions on specific initiatives and approaches, within the context of the district-wide budget and priority-setting process, by March 5, 2010, so that items requiring action by the Board of Education may be forwarded to the Board well before final decisions on the budget are required. The executive summary of the report is available on the SPPS Website:

INSIGHT NEWS Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford Vice President of Sales & Marketing Selene White Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Elliot Stewart-Franzen Web Design & Content Associate Ben Williams Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Receptionist Lue B. Lampley Contributing Writers Brenda Colston Julie Desmond Marcia Humphrey Alaina L. Lewis Rashida McKenzie Ryan T. Scott Lydia Schwartz Stacey Taylor Photography Suluki Fardan Tobechi Tobechukwu Contact Us: Insight News, Inc. Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Ave. N. MinneAPOlis., MN 55411 Ph.: (612) 588-1313 Fax: (612) 588-2031 Member: Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC) Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. (MBPCI) National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Postmaster: Send address changes to McFarlane Media Interests, Marcus Garvey House 1815 Bryant Avenue North, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411.

Insight News • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Page 5


Byron Pitts interview: Stepping Out On Nothing inspires people. Yeah, it would make a tremendous difference, because the earlier we can teach children to read, the more productive citizens they’ll be, and the fuller lives they’ll live. Would it have made my life easier? I don’t know. Could I have achieved more? I’d like to believe that.

By Kam Williams Byron Pitts was born on October 21, 1960, in Baltimore, MD where he was raised by a single-mom who saved to send him to Catholic school on a modest seamstress’ salary, despite the fact that they were churchgoing Baptists. Although he would eventually embark on an enviable career on TV as a well-respected news journalist, Pitts had to overcome illiteracy and a host of other seeminglyinsurmountable childhood challenges en route to turning himself into a great success story. That admirable endeavor was intimately recounted in his revealing memoir Step Out on Nothing, a best seller which earned the #2 spot on my annual Top Ten Black Books list. Earlier this year, he became the heir apparent to Ed Bradley’s coveted spot on “60 Minutes” when CBS named him a contributing correspondent to the long-running, television newsmagazine. Byron lives in New Jersey with his wife, Lyne, and their six children. He recently sat down to speak with me about his new job, his autobiography, his faith and his family. Kam Williams: Hi Byron, thanks for the time. Byron Pitts: Absolutely! My pleasure. KW: I’m going to start of with a question from children’s book author Irene Smalls. She says in many ways yours is a true ragsto-riches story. What guidance

Byron Pitts

can you offer young people today? BP: I think there’s real value in remaining optimistic and in having a plan for your life. I was raised to believe that strength only comes through struggle, and in seeing obstacles as stepping-stones, as teachable moments. By asking, what can I learn to improve myself from this experience? That’s a sphere of optimism I got from my mother. KW: Attorney Bernadette Beekman notes that you had some learning disabilities as a child. She was wondering, whether your path to success would have been easier if you’d been ready to read before the first grade? She also asks if you support efforts to invest in early care and education, especially in areas such as East New York, Harlem and Baltimore where there are high concentrations of young African American males? BP: Definitely, that would make all the difference in the world for a number of young

KW: Reverend Florine Thompson asks how has your faith shaped your life? BP: It’s the foundation. Every good choice I’ve made in my life has come as a result of prayer and faith, and every poor choice has come when I’ve deviated from that. It certainly sustained me as a child, and sustains me today. KW: Reverend Thompson also asks, what is your favorite and most profound quote from scripture? BP: Isaiah 40:31, which is also my grandmother’s favorite inscription, which reads, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; so that you can run and not be weary; and walk and not faint,” which speaks to that same Step Out on Nothing spirit. KW: Who has been the most influential person in your life? BP: My mother. KW: Also from the good Reverend: How did you overcome the obstacle of illiteracy? What did you do to rebuild your self-esteem? BP: A remedial reading program in East Baltimore that

broke things down for me so I could grasp them in small bites. I think that reinforces the need for the kinds of resources you mentioned in your earlier question which should be made available to young people at an

early age. In terms of rebuilding my self-esteem, my mother and immediate family deserve a great deal of credit for that. They were always supportive and kind, and knew the power of laughter as a real ointment to

heal what hurts you. KW: Reverend Thompson observes that it’s been said that we are a part of something



Page 6 • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Insight News

HEALTH New report shows CO poisonings occur most often during winter Wintertime weather can bring about more than just snow emergencies in Minnesota. Accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisonings also peak during winter months, according to a new report on CO exposures released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The report, entitled

Minnesota Environmental Public Health Tracking: Carbon Monoxide Data and Measures 2000-2007, presents trends in unintentional CO exposures and poisonings throughout the state. Its findings include the numbers and rates of Minnesotans who are sickened by exposure to this odorless, tasteless, and colorless

gas. The report was prepared by the Minnesota Environmental Public Health Tracking program (MN EPHT), which tracks environmental hazards and health in Minnesota. MN EPHT is now part of a larger network of CDC-funded states collecting data on CO poisonings, making this the nation’s first consistent approach to tracking CO poisonings. The report notes that while CO poisonings occur yearround, they occur most often during fall and winter. These colder months are when faulty furnaces and improperly maintained or operated fuelburning devices such as nonelectric space heaters and power generators are likely to be used. Hospitalizations, visits to the emergency department (ED), and deaths due to unintentional, non-fire related CO poisonings are also more common among

outstate residents compared with metro region residents. In just a five-year period (2003-2007), unintentional CO poisonings were responsible for 61 deaths, 175 hospitalizations, and 1,261 ER visits among Minnesotans. These numbers, which refer only to incidents that are not fire-related, are even higher when incidents involving accidental fires (such as residential fires) are included. The statistics paint a grim picture, especially since most of these unintentional CO poisonings are completely preventable. Fortunately, legislation is in place in hopes of curbing the numbers of unintentional CO poisonings in Minnesota. A new Minnesota state law requiring CO alarms in all single-family homes and multifamily apartments became fully effective on August 1, 2009. In

conjunction with this legislation, MDH is collecting telephone survey data on how many homes have CO alarms. This survey data, along with future CO reports, may be helpful in measuring the effectiveness of the new CO alarm legislation. To prevent CO poisoning, MDH recommends the following: Install and maintain a CO alarm within 10 feet of each room used for sleeping – it’s Minnesota state law: CO/CO.htm. Have a qualified technician check your heating systems and fuel burning appliances annually. Educate yourself and family members about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning, such as severe headache, dizziness, nausea, and

drowsiness: /indoorair/co/index.html. Never leave a car or truck running inside a garage attached to your house, even if you keep the garage door open. Instead, start your vehicle and back it out of the garage to let it warm up outside during cold weather. Never use a generator or fuelpowered tools inside the home, garage, in enclosed areas, or near windows, doors, vents, and other openings. The new carbon monoxide report is available at g/.


exempt from anti-trust laws and any premium increases must be reviewed before they take effect.”

million of them children. For too long, America’s record on health care has been a moral disgrace. By voting for health care today, the Congress is taking steps to reverse this trend,” he said in a statement. But, Jackson described the victory as having come “with some heavy scars”. He explained, “Without a single payer system or some form of public option, the Senate bill relies too much on the good will of the insurance industries, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies to hold premiums and costs down and make quality health care truly more affordable and accessible. That is unlikely, given the army of lobbyists these forces have deployed to safeguard their private interests, and undermine and scuttle health care reform.” The Democrats’ determination to get the bill to the President for signage, the Republicans’ determination to kill it, and the CBC’s determination to include a public option will make for hot debate with much at stake when both Houses return to sessions in January. Despite objections from the CBC and the Progress Caucus, Democratic leaders are willing to sacrifice the public option in order

to at least pass a palatable health care bill. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, the highest level African American in Congressional leadership, commended Reid and his Democratic colleagues in the Senate for passage without mentioning the public option. In his roll as Whip - to move the legislation toward passage – Clyburn pointed to the positives of both bills. “Both House and Senate bills cut the deficit, bring down rapidly rising health care costs for families and businesses, provide choice, and end discriminatory practices of the insurance industry that deny coverage if you get sick or have a pre-existing condition,” he said. “I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues and the President on a final bill that meets the core principles of health reform: affordability for the middle class, security for our seniors, responsibility to our children by reducing the deficit, and accountability for the insurance industry.”

KW: What interested you in being a war correspondent earlier in your career, and how did your wife handle your being in so many dangerous places? BP: My wife is a journalist with close to 30 years in the industry. She knows the business as well as I do, so she’s aware of the risks. But she is also a woman of great faith, and she appreciates the value and importance of journalism.

Report” illustrate a convergence and permeability of news, entertainment, politics and marketing called “discursive integration.” She wants to know, if you think this confluence will have more of a positive or negative impact on news in the future? BP: Great question! It concerns me because there is a generation of people growing up who think that shows like “The Colbert Report” are news programs. While what they do is entertaining, I wouldn’t consider it covering the news. There’s certainly a place for what they do in our great society, but there should also be a place for people to find the sober truth about what happened today.

From 1 President Obama – in route to achieving a key campaign promise - has said the public option is not absolutely necessary as long as the health bill has other key components that could serve the same end to provide affordability for low income or no income people, such as Medicaid. Components that Lee and Woolsey say the bill must have in order to meet their concerns are: • Affordability protections: Meaning, the “legislation must protect lower and middle-income individuals by ensuring that subsidies make coverage affordable and that Medicaid patients have access to primary care physicians.” • Tighter market regulation: Meaning, “New regulations must keep premiums reasonable and end abusive practices. Insurance companies should no longer be

• Employer mandates: Meaning, “If individuals are required to buy insurance, employers should be required to provide it. • Tax surcharges: Meaning, “Health care reform should be financed by tax surcharges on the wealthy not excise taxes on health insurance plans offered to many workers and union members.” The painstaking fight for maximum health care affordability is clearly not over although progress has been made. “While we still have much work to do, we applaud Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sens. Ben Cardin and Roland Burris for their hard work to ensure that the much needed health disparities provision remained in the legislation,” the Lee-Woolsey statement said. “Also, we applaud Sen. Bernie Sanders for helping to secure $10 billion more in the revised bill for community health centers.” Meanwhile, the passage was applauded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who also asserted that the public option is still a need. “Forty-five million families [are] without health insurance as we approach the year 2010, some 10

Pitts From 5 much greater than ourselves. If this is true, when did you discover this truth and what has it meant to your success? BP: That’s a great question. I’m sure that I became fully aware of that by my 40s. That’s something that became clear to me as I was working on the book. It took so many people investing in me for me to do the things I’ve been able to achieve. And I’m very mindful of the few gifts that I’ve been given and of the value in sharing them with others. When I think about my journey, learning to read was certainly huge. Learning not to stutter was incredibly important, as was coming to understand the power of prayer and having a family which was incredibly supportive. If you take away any one of those things or one of about 50 others, would I be where I am now? I tend to doubt it.

KW: Did you ever find yourself addicted to being in war zones? BP: No, but I’ve certainly always been willing to go to war zones and to cover disasters when necessary. I cover struggle because I remember what it meant as a child to feel voiceless. Now, as a journalist, it’s my job to go give voice to the voiceless. And I take that mission very seriously. I’ve also covered the last few presidential campaigns. I just want to cover the news. KW: College student Laz Lyles says, shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert

For more information about CO poisonings, or if you have a poison emergency, call the 24hour Minnesota Poison Control System at 1-800-222-2222.

KW: Laz goes on to inquire, how can we achieve greater integrity in journalism today? BP: I think accountability is important, that news organizations should be held accountable by their readers, listeners and viewers. And I



Dehn From 1 encourages people in the community to come meet him. He invites people of the community to discuss issues that are critical to the future of the community and state. Dehn wants people to ask him “difficult questions because our politicians are only as good as how we hold them accountable.” Dehn is hoping to engage people who are new to the political process and elections in general, which he says is “just as important as my campaign…I have lived by the belief that if you want to see change, you have to work for that change. It is only by working together that we will be able to build upon our community assets and achieve a greater quality of life for ourselves, our families, and our community.” Originally from Brooklyn Park, Dehn attended Cooper High School and the

Insight News • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Page 7 University of Minnesota. He and his partner Joan have lived in the Willard-Hay Neighborhood since 2001. Dehn says they “chose to live in North Minneapolis because of the vibrant diversity that makes it such a rich

Minneapolis. In his campaign, Dehn addresses social programs and their impact on public safety. He believes that all children in Minnesota should have access to educational opportunities. Education provides a

the incentives for crime and violence in the long run.” Dehn also notes that public safety relies on a justice system that is fair, equitable, and most importantly applied equally to all citizens of Minnesota.

“just as important as my campaign…I have lived by the belief that if you want to see change, you have to work for that change. It is only by working together that we will be able to build upon our community assets and achieve a greater quality of life for ourselves, our families, and our community.” community.” In the past, Dehn has worked with his neighborhood block club, participated in his neighborhood association, served on the City of Minneapolis Long Range Improvement Committee, and volunteered for US Sen. Paul Wellstone’s campaign. Dehn is currently a member of the DFL State Central Committee and works for an architecture firm based in

foundation for their future success as teenagers and adults. Dehn says, “If we don’t make investments early in the lives of our children, we will certainly pay the price later. Early childhood development and education need to be the cornerstones of a comprehensive public safety or social service program…Social programs and anti-poverty efforts are cost-effective ways to reduce

Advancing green technology and creating jobs in the community are also major issues addressed by Dehn’s campaign. He says, “We have the chance to create new industries and provide new skills for many who are underemployed, if we are willing to invest in green technologies, green building retrofits, and related education and training.” The emerging green economy has the

opportunity to place lowskilled workers into new jobs that can provide future promotional opportunities. Because of the recession, having a job with a living wage has become vital for so many families. Another important issue to Dehn is the devastation to neighborhoods caused by the housing and mortgage foreclosure crisis. Many families and individuals have been displaced and many homes have fallen into disrepair. “If we do not act swiftly, the loss of these houses and families will have a prolonged negative impact on our community. We need to develop a strategy to rebuild our neighborhood fabric and return our community to the stability neighborhoods we all desire,” he says. Neighborhood business development is another important issue to Dehn. He has ideas for a viable commercial corridor in North Minneapolis as well as a focused effort to revamp

Broadway Ave. He holds the development on Chicago Avenue and Lake Street as an example of how to work together to achieve success in neighborhood business development. The City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and private developers all came together to create a plan for the area. Unless we all work together, he says, “all the great redevelopment efforts that we see today, such 1101 Broadway, the Capri Theater, and development along Lowry may fall short. We need to focus on cross-jurisdictional efforts to coordinate the kinds of program that will establish and maintain businesses providing vital services to the community.” Precinct caucuses to vote for candidates are on February 2 and the District 58 DFL Convention is February 22. For more information on Raymond Dehn’s campaign, visit or call (612) 310-3346.

Page 8 • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Insight News

New Year’s Resolutions: Set goals to win in 2010 By Marcia Humphrey Recently while going through an old stack of papers, I came across a piece of paper whose heading read Humphrey Family Goals 2006. As I looked over the list, a feeling of pride rose up inside of me. Basically all of the goals had been met. The next feeling was one of disappointment for two reasons: First, I don’t think we wrote down our family goals for 2009. Secondly, I know there is at least one important goal leftover from 2008 (probably earlier than that) that remains unachieved. Are you expecting to get off to a good start in 2010? I am too and

Pitts From 6 believe it speaks to the value of having more diverse voices, of people bringing different life experiences to news organizations. KW: Aspiring actor Tommy Russell asks, as a Black man who is also a very public figure, do you think Black male celebrities, entertainers, sports figures and politicians get treated more harshly for their transgressions and mistakes than others? BP: I was raised to believe that much is required of those to whom much has been given. I think anyone in a position of importance has a responsibility to carry themselves in a certain way. KW: Tommy continues with, since the election of Barack Obama, do you think America

my plan to achieve that goal starts with a pen and paper. That’s right, I am writing down my goals, so that I can actually remember what I am aiming for and what steps I will take to get there. What I am not doing, however, is calling them New Year’s resolutions. At least in my mind, there is something about a resolution that screams, “Break me!” so I will instead refer to these goals as just that-GOALS. Let’s get started! Organization Goals The key to getting and staying organized is making lists and checking them twice. Whether you are making goals for the year or goals for the week, write them down, and place the most important one at the top of the list. has entered a post-racial period in our history? BP: No. I think race still matters in our country, although perhaps not as much as it used to. I think race, class and

If you want to make longer range goals, break them down in manageable parts. For instance, if your goal is to organize and purge your closet, start with the goal of spending 15 minutes each night sorting into labeled boxes; giveaway, throwaway, and clean or mend. Keep these boxes nearby so you can pick up where you left off the next day. Need help getting started? Check out Consider visiting this free, helpful, and humorous site if you live in CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome)! Financial Goals Start off 2010 by recording current expenses and compare it against your income. Are you

spending more than you make or do you have enough to start (or buildup) that emergency fund? For practical advice on budget matters, visit If you need extra income, you might consider a part-time job or athome work. Companies hire work-from-home customer service agents,, mystery shoppers, transcribers,, and more. (Do thorough research and never pay any fees to those claiming to have at-home job leads.) Fitness Goals How do you envision your life ten or twenty years from now? Do wife.

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid? BP: Not anymore. I used to be, quite often. I have moments when I’m frightened, but not

KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read? BP: What the Dog Saw by

I believe we’re all connected in some way. It relates back to Reverend Thompson’s earlier question about being a part of something much greater than ourselves. I saw it as an opportunity to encourage other people on a large scale. ethnicity are things that still matter. KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would? BP: No, but my all-time favorite question is, what’s the one thing in life you know for sure? KW: Okay, what’s the one thing in life you know for sure? BP: That God is good.

afraid. KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy? BP: Hmm… another great question. That’s not something I spend much time thinking about. I have joy in my life, but I think there’s a difference between joy and happiness. Happiness, I find, often depends on the circumstances, while joy is something that can sustain you in the slow moments and keep you smiling in the happy moments. KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh? BP: This morning, with my

Malcolm Gladwell. I met him a couple of weeks ago. A very bright man. KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What are you listening to on your iPod? BP: Mostly Gospel. I have no rhythm, no taste in music. My wife, siblings and children have far more sophisticated tastes when it comes to music than I do. But I grew in the church, sang in the choir, and still love church music. What’s on my iPod is mostly religious music. KW: The Laz Alonso question: How can your fans help you? BP: That’s a nice question. Certainly by supporting the




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you see yourself living an active, healthy life or a life plagued with diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol? Take control of your health and your life by writing down a plan for success. Don’t overwhelm yourself; start with small goals. Do some type of activity each week; walking, dancing, shoveling snow, etc. and cut back on fried, greasy foods. A great tool to help you get moving on your journey toward physical well-being can be found at Dr. Ian Smith’s website . There are several benefits to putting your personal goals on paper: you are able to feel the satisfaction and self-confidence in successfully accomplishing a task; you are able to steer your life in a

positive direction toward your long-range plans, and you are able to enjoy peace of mind in knowing that you have created more order in your life and in the life of your family. Goal setting doesn’t have to be executed with perfection, but it does require dedication-especially when inevitable missteps occur. Consider your goals, write down your plan, make it clear, and then make it a reality; for your sake and for the sake of your family. Enjoy!

book and, if they believe what it says, spreading the word by encouraging other people, especially schoolchildren, to read it. That would really warm my heart.

BP: I like to grill out. I’d have to say barbecued chicken.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory? BP: What stands out in my mind is my mom helping me into a little suit with short pants and a jacket when I was about five because she was obsessed with dressing me like John-John Kennedy. I remember feeling very protected. KW: The Mike Pittman question: Who was your best friend as a child? BP: My best friend in the neighborhood, after my parents split up, was a guy named Bud who lived a couple doors up the street. He came to my book signing in Baltimore the other day. And my best friend in high school was a guy named Joe Strombowsky. KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see? BP: The power of grace. KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at low costs. A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.

KW: The Flex Alexander question: How do you get through the tough times? BP: By remembering the previous tough times and what got me through those difficult moments. KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps? BP: Go further. My mother raised her kids with a basic philosophy: if you work hard, pray hard, and treat people right, good things will happen. That certainly worked for me. KW: What made you decide to go public with your life story? BP: Because I believe we’re all connected in some way. It relates back to Reverend Thompson’s earlier question about being a part of something much greater than ourselves. I saw it as an opportunity to encourage other people on a large scale. KW: Thanks again for the time, Byron, and best of luck with the book and with “60 Minutes.” BP: Thank you, all the best.

Insight News • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Page 9

Mac Walton: Gentle writer, counselor, leader Mac Walton, a gentle man, author, and counselor, died peacefully surrounded by loving friends and family on December 22, 2009, at his home in Minneapolis. Walton waged a valiant battle against colon cancer for over five years. Although his physical form succumbed the illness, his will to live and his passion for ideas and people triumphed until the end, writing daily for followers of his blog “daddyBstrong,” responding to reader comments while enduring the most intense side effects of chemotherapy, and authoring three books during his illness.

Walton was born in Phenix City, AL, to Henry and Cherry Walton in 1951. The family relocated to Atlanta, GA, where Mac’s father worked as a union organizer and played blues guitar with local musicians. When Mac was a teenager, his father was tragically killed in an auto accident, and his mother died shortly thereafter. The captain of the football team at his Atlanta high school, Mac’s scholarly talent was also noticed by school counselors who recommended him for full scholarship to Ripon College in 1967, during the aftermath of the civil rights movement. At Ripon, and later at the

University of WisconsinMadison, Mac was an avid student of history, economics, political science, and literature and participated in campus protests of the Viet Nam war. Following college, Mac taught at an alternative high school in Madison, Wisconsin, and was beloved by his students. Mac moved to Minneapolis in 1977 to study economics at the University of Minnesota, but his passion for helping others and giving back to community led him to work with the Bridge for Runaway Youth, Turning Point, Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, and Minneapolis Public

Housing. In the mid-1990s, Mac shifted his career focus to domestic violence education and counseling, inspired by Paul and Sheila Wellstone’s national leadership on the issue. Seeing an acute need for culturally aware programs for anti-violence education, Mac developed a curriculum that integrated spirituality, culture, values education, history, and anger management for male perpetrators through his consulting business, Cultural Dynamics. The curriculum is still in use today at the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center in Minneapolis. Mac served for 15 years as a volunteer counselor

to Visitation Monastery in North Minneapolis. Mac Walton leaves behind many loving friends and family in the Minneapolis area, including the sisters of Visitation Monastery. He also leaves behind faithful followers of his blog, His books Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Lessons in Living with Cancer Today and The Rebellious Sixties: Yes, I Remember, are available for purchase through In lieu of flowers, memorials to a fund to support talented individuals in the Visitation Monastery


expect 90 percent will reach college-ready benchmarks for reading and math. Each student will attend at least eight of 10 workshops. We also want 35 of these students to participate in the Historical Black College and University Tour.” “Locally, a number of Comcast employees volunteer

annually in a wide variety of programs supporting Minneapolis Urban League education initiatives,” said Bill Wright, Regional Vice President of Comcast in the Twin Cities. “Comcast has a long history of support for the programs of National Urban League affiliates across the United States. Here

in the Twin Cities we are pleased to continue our corporate partnership with the League through this foundation support.” The Comcast Foundation was founded by Comcast Corporation in June 1999 to provide charitable support to qualified non-profit

organizations. The foundation invests primarily in programs intended to have a positive, sustainable impact on communities. The foundation’s three community investment priorities are promoting community service, expanding digital literacy, and building tomorrow’s leaders. Since its

as they emerge. “Short term we are just focusing laser-like on the foreclosure crisis, bringing all the tools that we can assemble to help our partners on the ground to deal with this crisis. We also have this longer term vision of how you work so that everyone can rise from the tide. How we can take this crisis and make it into an opportunity, to help more people than have ever been helped before,” she said. “So, we are looking across neighborhoods. We are working with residential property in distressed neighborhoods, but we realize you need to have concentric circles that include vibrant business and commercial resources adjacent to or within these distressed neighborhoods. So we are not looking at just housing. We are looking at the whole economic framework and structure that is needed to make these communities sustainable,” Rom said. “We are looking at how we can help bring the jobs to the neighborhood. We can help people who’ve been most heavily impacted both short term and long term. It’s intended to be very

broad. We also recognize that there is more to a neighborhood than structures. So we’re working with these communities, so they can engage in community building processes while they do their redevelopment. We are looking also at changing the infrastructure, trying to bring green space to communities.” Rom said the Land Bank initiative will provide opportunities for gardens or urban agriculture with play lots next door, so people can start living in their community more fully and enjoy healthy food that’s grown in their neighborhood. They want to promote parks and recreation areas. “Crime is less in areas that are treed than in areas that are barren of trees,” Rom said. “So it all ties together in this very multifaceted way involving building of the infrastructure, the buildings and people. Rom said the Land Bank will benefit from knowledge and experience of similar projects around the country.“There have been very successful land banks developed around the country over the last ten years, mainly in Rust Belt communities. They

From 1 total of 600 hours a year,” said Scott Gray, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Urban League. “Our goal is to recruit and enroll 75 students and we

Bank From 1 properties and to rehabilitate them and get them back in the hands of low and moderate income home owners, we are not going to be able to sustain the vitality of those neighborhoods,” he said in an interview with ethnic media leaders following the launch of the Land Bank last month. “The Land Bank was formed as one of many tools that are part of a much bigger partnership created with the understanding that the leaders of this effort are really the people who live and work in these neighborhoods. They are the ones who have shown so much resilience. There are all kinds of grass roots efforts that are going on to keep those communities vital. Land Bank will support that community based work,” said Fulton. Rebecca Rom is president of the Land Bank. She said the partnership formed the Land Bank with an extremely flexible business model to be able move quickly and to address new crises

Photo courtesy the family

Mac Walton

community who intend to study domestic violence counseling are requested.

inception, the Comcast Foundation has donated more than $77 million nationwide to organizations in the communities Comcast serves. More information about the foundation and its programs is at

Al McFarlane, Nghi Huynh, Rebecca Rom, and Shawn Huckleby. arose out of dramatic losses in jobs: In Flint, MI, and Detroit, MI, the change in the economics of their primary industry, the automobile industry, has resulted in 30, 40, 50% of the population moving out of the communities,” she said. “When those folks have moved away, they walked away from their houses. What Detroit communities experienced was vast quantities of empty houses that nobody could claim. Ultimately those houses went to the tax forfeiture processes, but they were in states where laws required cash to buy them, and it took years and years and years. The Michigan legislature created a legal framework for a land bank as governmental entity and provided that tax forfeited land could be deposited immediately into these land banks. Then they reformed the tax forfeiture law so they would be deposited relatively quickly. Now, communities could control their land and were able to start reshaping and rethinking their cities. “We ultimately chose a different model in that we’re not a governmental entity. We’re very unique in that regard but we did this because we wanted to work across the metro area. We didn’t want to be tied to a single government unit, a city, a county. We’re metro wide. That’s the way we’ve been working in this community in a very collaborative way we thought that it was very important to keep that framework,” said Rom. “Second, in dealing with foreclosure as opposed to tax forfeiture, we knew we needed a

large amount of money. We have to buy this property. We weren’t going to get it free from forfeiture to the government. So we needed a vehicle that would allow us to raise new capital outside our community and we felt a private, non-governmental model would give us better access to capital,” Rom said. “Last, we also new in these times of stress, if we were a governmental unit, we would be asking the city of Minneapolis or St. Paul to add another line item of expense to its budget for operating income. That just wasn’t realistic. So we created a new model. It’s unique in the country and so far seems to be working. We’ve been able to raise resources so that we can help our partners acquire this property and we are working across the metro area. So far, so good,” she said. Shawn Huckleby, a veteran in federal and state housing administration work, is managing the public outreach initiative for the Twin City Community Land Bank. “We are engaging community and as we talk about community. It’s not only with the community of our development partners, CDCs, neighborhood based nonprofits, or for-profit organizations, but also with industry partners including the lenders and the realtors, that we can, in a coordinated way, approach and attack this issue. But there is a third partner - the community at a very grass roots level, making sure that our programs and efforts align with their desires and their needs. That requires a dialogue that will have


from the US about potential attacks on its interests in the country in as many years. Analysts remain skeptical about any link between Nigerian radical Muslims and global jihadists. Last week, Dr. AbdulMutallab released the following letter: “Our family, like the rest of the world, [were] woken up in the early hours of Saturday, 26th December, 2009 to the news of an attempt to blow up a plane by a young Nigerian man, who was later identified as Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is the son of Alhaji (Dr.) Umaru AbdulMutallab, the head of this Family. “Prior to this incident, his father, having become concerned about his disappearance and stoppage of communication while schooling abroad, reported the matter to the Nigerian security agencies about two months ago, and to some foreign security agencies about a month and a half ago, then sought their assistance to find and return him home. “We provided them with all the information required of us to enable them do this. We were hopeful that they would find and return him home. It was while we were waiting for the outcome of

From 1 not denied boarding privileges on the Amsterdam-Chicago Northwest Air flight. He reportedly paid cash for a one-way ticket and was allowed to board. But shortly before arrival, Umar Farouk attempted to ignite a fire which would have set off explosives he was carrying in his underwear. It is believed these explosives were strong enough to blow a hole in the plane’s fuselage. At the sound and smoke from the fire being ignited, Umar Farouk was wrestled down by passengers and attendants who successfully doused the flame. The first official response by US Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, was that “the system worked very, very smoothly over the course of the past few days.” But she retracted that assessment and now admits that there were failures with airline security. As to the al-Qaeda connection, as late as last August, experts said they were unable to find evidence of Osama Bin Laden’s group in Nigeria, despite several arrests by the government and two warnings

Rebecca Rom

Shawn Huckleby to continue over an extended period of time —one that makes sure that we structure our programs and deliver them in a way that the community needs,” Huckleby said. “Now the demographics in our market have changed and we have seen increases in our communities of color in terms of population. That requires us to find creative ways that we can work with them to increase capacity within these communities so they can have a role in the identification of needs and resources. They must also have the role in the actual physical work and business that will transform their communities,” he said. their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day.” “The disappearance and cessation of communication which got his mother and father concerned enough to report to the security agencies are completely out of character and a very recent development. As before then, from very early childhood, Farouk, to the best of parental monitoring, had never shown any attitude, conduct or association that would give concern. As soon as concern arose, very recently, his parents reported it and sought help. “The family will continue to fully cooperate with local and international security agencies towards the investigation of this matter, while we await results of the full investigation. We, along with the whole world, are thankful to All-Mighty God that there were no lives lost in the incident. May God continue to protect us all, Amen.” Finally, as the matter is being investigated by the various agencies, and has already been mentioned in a US court, the family requests that the press should regard this as the only statement it will make for now.

Page 10 • January 4 - January 10, 2010 - January 3, 2010 • Insight News

COMMUNITY CALENDAR Send Community Calendar information to us by: email,, by fax: 612-588-2031, by phone: (612) 588-1313 or by mail: 1815 Bryant Ave. N. Minneapolis, MN 55411, Attn: Ben Williams. Free or low cost events preferred.

Events African Dance / Afro Modern Ongoing African Dance: Every Wednesday 7:00pm - 8:30pm. Live drumming by Fode Bangoura & Dan Handeen. Afro Modern: Every Thursday 5:30pm - 7:00pm. Zenon Dance Company and School, 528 Hennepin Ave. #400 Mpls. Visit asp?news_id=503 for details & registration. Hawthorne Huddle – Jan 7 January 7, 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. in the Multipurpose Room at Farview Park, located at 621 29th Avenue North. A continental breakfast will be available at 7:15 a.m. Main Program Topic: Building a healthy, stable, environmentally sound North Minneapolis community.

Chinese Traditions for the Winter: Tai Chi and Chinese Medicine for Your Health – Jan 9 Sat., January 9th, 2-4 pm, with Barbara Davis, Great River T’ai Chi director, and Ming Chu Benson, licensed acupuncturist, at Sun Gallery, 4760 Grand Avenue South, Minneapolis. Free and open to the public. 612-822-6388. “Yolka”: Masked Ball for Kids and Adults - Jan. 9 Sat., Jan. 9, 3 pm at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1720 Minnehaha Parkway, Mpls. Registration: 612-978-6209 or Winter Trails at Fort Snelling Jan. 9 Sat., Jan. 9, 1pm – 4pm; Fort Snelling State Park Picnic Shelter A, Minneapolis, MN. Visit


Experiential off-campus-study nonprofit seeks part-time entry-level office & program assistant. Requires B.A., strong attention to detail, and proficiency in Microsoft Word & Excel. Preferred: Exp. in web-based applications. Interest in social justice pedagogy. $12.15/hour w/full benefits. Full posting at Candidates of color encouraged to apply.

Grants and Appeals Coordinator Summit Academy OIC is seeking a highly skilled and experienced grant and appeals writer to coordinate and develop long-term, expanded constituency for grants, and gifts for support of vocational education programs of the Summit Academy OIC. The ideal candidates must have a four-year college degree and at least four years proven grant writing experience and development work in the non-profit sector. Candidates must also possess expert level skills in word processing, spreadsheets and database management programs. Salary is commensurate with education and experience. Valid Driver's license required. EEO/AA Employer. Position open until filled. Women and minorities encouraged to apply. Submit all resumes to No phone inquiries, please. for more information or call 651-635-0211. Listening to the Past: Brownie Girl Scout Workshop – Jan 9 Jan. 9, 10:30 a.m. to Noon at the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd W., St. Paul. For more info and ticket information:, 651-259-3000. Reservations required. 10th Annual MLK Celebration – Jan. 10 The Minnesota Chapter Action Committee for Social Change will have their 10th Annual Celebration, honoring the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday, January 10, 2010, 3:30pm at Grace Temple Deliverance Center, located at 1908 4th Avenue South, Mpls. 612-805-1923.

defenses, and the rhythmic ginga or mobile guard. They will also have the opportunity to play the music of Capoeira on instruments like the pandeiro, agogo, and atabaque. Tuesday 6-7 PM Starts Jan. 12 or Weds. 5-6 PM Starts January 13. Enrollment for the 8 week term is $60. Siblings receive a 15% discount, total being $102. E-mail to reserve a spot. Minneapolis in the 20th Century with Iric Nathanson – Jan 14 Jan. 14, 7 p.m. at the Mill City Museum, 704 South Second Street, Mpls. For more info: 612-3417555, Free.

Technology for Girls: My Messy Little Experiments - Jan 12 A free workshop for middle-school girls with disabilities. Tuesday, Jan. 12, 6 to 8 p.m., at PACER Center, 8161 Normandale Blvd., Bloomington, Minn. Advance registration is required. To register, call PACER at 952-838-9000 or 952-838-0190 (TTY) or visit Capoeira Kids – Jan 12, 13 Children ages 5-10 will experience the movements of Capoeira including cartwheels, kicks and


Minnesota Blizzards Basketball The Minnesota Blizzards ABA Basketball Team is announcing a program for college Internships for the fall and winter. The program will consist of five teams of 5 interns each in the following areas: (1) Sales, (2) Basketball Operations. (3) Marketing (4) Public Relations (5) Business administration. Each team will have a leader and be given challenging assignments. We are looking for college students majoring in Sports Management, Business, Public Relations, Marketing Sales, Broadcasting and Event Planning. We need 20 or 25 interns working with us for a (minimum of 8 hours a week) on a part-time basis. Interns will gain valuable experience, and in most cases college credits. Interested Parties please send resume to: The Minnesota ABA Team Attn: Internship Program 10125 Crosstown Circle #200 Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-829-1250 Fax: 952-829-1040

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Holiday Breakfast - Jan 18 January 18, 7:00 am at the MPLS Convention Center. for tickets and information. History HiJinx Craft Program: I Have A Dream Luminaries Jan 18 Jan. 18, Noon to 4 p.m. at the Minnesota History Center, 345 Kellogg Blvd W., St. Paul. For more info and ticket information:, 651-259-3000. Hamline University Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration – Jan 19 Tues., January 19, 4 p.m. in Sundin Music Hall, located at 1531 Hewitt Avenue in Saint Paul.

Jawaahir Dance Company 17th Annual Henna Party – Jan 10 Sun., Jan. 10, 2–5 P.M. at Jawaahir Dance Company, 1940 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. $10 single, $8 each for groups of five or more. 612-8726050, St. Joan of Arc MIM – Jan 11 Mon, Jan 11, 5:45—8:15pm; St. Joan of Arc Church Mental Illness Ministry; 5:45: Light meal provided; 7—8:15: Topic: Suicide; Speaker: Mary McGuire and Panel, SAVE; Free/open to all; Certificate of Attendance; Roseann, 612.823.8205; Mary, Location: SJA Church Hospitality Hall, Door 1, 4537 Third Av S, Minneapolis;

about the home buying process and the tax credit for homebuyers - up to $8,000. For more information: Call Joseph Dillard at 612-2516593, email:

Geoffrey Canada

Celebrate the Dream MLK event - Jan. 15 Geoffrey Canada, educational pioneer and social reformer, to speak at MCTC’s 2010 “Celebrate the Dream” Tribute, Jan. 15, 7 p.m., Basilica of Saint Mary, 88 17th Street North Minneapolis, MN MCTC 2nd annual power of giving MLK day of service - Jan 16 Saturday, Jan 16, 8 am - 1 pm. New Year’s Tea Brunch & Bible Fellowship – Jan 16 Saturday, January 16, 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM at Dennis Ministries (located in the Dymanyk Electric Bldg), 1919 Broadway NE, Mpls. R.S.V.P by: January 12. 763-9512288, The Puggles— A Platypus Adventure – Jan. 16, 17 Sat., Jan. 16, 7:00 pm. Sun., Jan. 17, 1:30 and 4:00 pm. Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, 1500 E. Lake Street, Mpls. 612.721.2535, For reservations, call 612-721-2535 or visit HBCU COLLEGE FAIR – Jan. 18 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM at St. Peter’s AME Church, 401 E. 41st Street, Mpls. For more information call Arnise Roberson (612) 455-1566, email: or visit Activate the Dream II: Home Ownership – Jan 18 January 18, 6pm - 8pm at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, Business Division, 1201 West Broadway Ave., Mpls. Free. Learn

MLK Week at MCTC - Ongoing Wednesday, January 20, 6:30 p.m.—MCTC Campus - Gourmet Dining Room, T.1000, Panel Discussion, “An Oral History of African-American Race Relations in the Twin Cities” Thursday, January 21 Noon to 1:30 p.m., MCTC Campus - Gourmet Dining Room, T.1000 Chaplain and Colonel Wally G. Vaughn, “Reflections on Our Pastor: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 1954-1960” and “The Selma Campaign, 1963-1965: The Decisive Battle of the Civil Rights Movement.” Friday, January 22, Noon to 1:30 p.m., MCTC Campus - Helland Student Center Open microphone event. Students will share and perform pieces that speak to what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy means to them.

Grey Nayman

Saint Paul Winter Carnival January 21 - 31, 2010 For more information, visit

5th Annual Twin Cities Snowshoe Shuffle - Feb. 6 10:00am 5K/10K Race/Walk Kids Fun Run, Long Lake Regional Park, 1500 Old Highway 8, New Brighton. $35 adults, $20 students, Kids Fun Run free. Proceeds benefit Camp Bovey, a summer camp youth program of East Side Neighborhood Services., 612787-4000.

MayDay Community Meeting – Feb. 9 Tuesday, February 9, 7pm-9pm, No reservation necessary. IN THE HEART OF THE BEAST PUPPET AND MASK THEATRE, 1500 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis. 612.721.2535. An Alternative for your Sweetheart: Sock Puppet Serenade – Feb. 13, 14 February 13, 7pm, February 14, 4 pm and 7 pm. At THE HEART OF THE BEAST PUPPET AND MASK THEATRE, 1500 E. Lake Street, Mpls. Tickets are $10 and available at or 612721-2535. HandsOn Twin Cities Volunteer Expo – Feb. 20 Saturday, Feb 20, Mall of America, Best Buy Rotunda, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Visit for more information. Jamaica Minnesota Organization Benefit Raffle All Proceeds Benefit JMO Scholarship Program. $5 Contribution per ticket. Increase your chances with multiple tickets. Contact JMO members for tickets or Mail contributions to JMO at address: JAMAICA MINNESOTA ORGANIZATION, P.O. Box 580726, Minneapolis, MN 55458. For contributions by mail, JMO will mail out tickets. More info: 651-639-7687 ‘Soap Boxing’ poetry slam – Ongoing Monday’s at the Artist’s Quarter, 408 St Peter Street, St. Paul. (Under Great Water’s Brewery) $5 cover (free if you compete in the Slam) 18+. Doors @ 7 pm. Slam @ 8:00. FFI: 612-207-7991, w w w. s o a p - b o x i n g . c o m , m Artists Quarter Open Mic – Ongoing Monday’s at the Artist’s Quarter 408 St. Peter Street, St. Paul. Live Jazz by “Green” from 7 pm till 9:30 pm, No cover – two drink minimum Willard-Homewood Block Club Leaders (and Residents) Meetings – Ongoing Every third Thursday of the month, 6:30-8:00 pm at Northpoint Health & Wellness Center, 1315 Penn Ave. N. (Human Services Building, not the clinic), Mpls., Room 108. See the block club page at Wanted: Community-minded book lovers - Ongoing One in seven U.S. adults lack the literacy skills necessary to enjoy great books, help their children with homework, or understand medication labels. But you can change this by volunteering with the Minnesota Literacy Council. With only two or three hours a week, your love of reading can create a stronger community. Tutor an adult learner, assist in an adult classroom, or teach a basic English or GED class. We have locations throughout the Twin

Cities area, flexible scheduling and training to help you get started. Contact Allison at or 651-6452277, Ext 219 or visit us on the web at Get to Know Guild – Ongoing Hear from individuals served, family members, and staff about the work Guild Incorporated is doing to help people move along their paths of recovery. To RSVP or for more information, call George Broostin at 651-925-8454. nts.htm for more info. Touch Kickball at Phelps Park – Ongoing Come and play TOUCH kickball with your family & friends June 27 - Aug. 22 (except the 4th of July). 4:00 every Saturday at PHELPS PARK, 39th & Chicago Ave. More information: 612-824-4900, Neighborhood Development Center business workshops – Ongoing NDC is a non-profit that works to empower low-income Twin Cities communities through successful entrepreneurship. Visit or call 651-291-2480 for information. Workshops are free. Credit Smart – Ongoing FREE class explains how to manage credit. Tuesdays from 6–8 pm at the Minneapolis Urban League, Glover-Sudduth Center, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis. To RSVP call Theresa at 612-827-9268. Minneapolis Urban League CAC and UNP Meetings – Ongoing September 16th, 2009, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Lao Assistance Center November 18th, 2009, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Minneapolis Urban League December 16th, 2009, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center January 20th 2009, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center February 17th, 2010, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center March 17th 2010, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center April; 21st, 2010, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center May 19th, 2010, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, Urban Research and Outreach/ Engagement Center

Insight News • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Page 11

SPORTS Brett Favre saga waggles through NFL history By Ryan T. Scott Much of the hoopla surrounding Brett Favre, and his many waggles through NFL history, may end up sounding like a male soap opera sometimes, but as Favre nears the end of his NFL journey (I think he’s retiring after this year…really) there is only one fictitious movie icon that comes to mind: The Spaniard, The Gladiator, Maximus. “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridious…Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my revenge in this life or the next.” Now, while actor Russell Crowe delivered that line about as best as could possibly be done in the movie Gladiator, it’s easy to insert Favre’s pensive country boy swagger to that memorable motion picture line. “My name is Brett Lorenzo Favre…Quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, quarterback of the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. And I will suck all of the air out of the room if you let me (pause for dramatic effect)… in this life or the next.” I get a whole bunch of stuff wrong, but I nailed this one a long time ago. When Favre was going through his many vicissitudes (My mother likes big words. Vicissitudes means changes or fluctuations) in Green Bay, it seemed to me that the whole scenario of him versus the Green Bay executive leadership resembled the storyline of the movie Gladiator. The antagonist in the movie was the ruler Julius Caesar. Caesar was unable to kill Maximus because he had curried such favor with the

crowds at the Roman Colloseum through his dazzling performances, that he became more beloved by the people than Caesar himself. Thus, Caesar couldn’t kill Favre, I mean Maximus, so as not to

prescription, head wrapping sunglasses have been knocked on their soft sides from looking directly at Favre’s shine. So when Favre and Vikings head coach Brad Childress had a little spat on the sideline over

Favre has an endorsement with Wrangler jeans...I’m just sayin’ promote him to the level of Sainthood through his assassination. In other words, Maximus was taking all the shine, and Cane killed Abel ya dig. Maximus killed Caesar in the end of the movie, and Favre killed Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy when he came back with the Vikings to beat Green Bay both times they squared off this season. Even though Green Bay kicked him to the curb (I bet Favre hates to hear that phrase), Favre came back to suck all the air out of the room and soak up all the shine like old times. McCarthy wasn’t dead after all that, but he sure looked like one beet-red, pissed-off, fat football coach. Now in the movie, Maximus too died in that final scene, so nobody else had to bother with dealing with his greatness in the eyes of the people, or his military skill. In the Favre version of this storyline, Maximus gets picked up at the airport by Vikings coach Brad Childress and owner Zygi Wilf. I know they were happy to get the celebrated gladiator into their SUV, but how in the world they could see well enough to drive, with all that shine in their car, is beyond me. There are no Ray-Ban, Oakley, or Blue Blocker sunglasses available that can withstand the potency of that Mississippi Favre shine. Old ladies with those, massive,

whether Favre should stay in the game, Childress accidentally stepped into the Gladiator arena with Favre. While Caesar had to deal with the whims of the crowds’ thumbs up, or thumbs down

judgment, Childress has to deal with the nations’ powerful, unrestrained media judgment machine. Whether with a pride of lions, a human marriage, or Presidential international affairs, people, including the media, invasively want to know one thing about relationships: Who’s wearin’ the pants? Did I mention that Brett Favre has an endorsement contract with Wrangler jeans? “Spaniard! Spaniard! Spaniard!” And yes, I crack myself up sometimes, and hope you get a chuckle or inspirational thought here and there from the column. Happy New Year.

Page 12 • January 4 - January 10, 2010 • Insight News

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Insight News ::: 1.4.10  

Insight News for the week of January 4, 2010. Insight News is the community journal for news, business and the arts serving the Minneapolis...

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