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Staying off the naughty (spending) list



INSIGHT NEWS November 28 - December 4, 2011 • MN Metro Vol. 37 No. 48 • The Journal For Community News, Business & The Arts •

Senator Jeff Hayden: Analyze, organize, mobilize to take state government back By Al McFarlane, Editor-in-Chief Days after the special election, State Representative Jeff Hayden talked with Insight Editor Al McFarlane in a Tuesday morning broadcast of Conversations with Al McFarlane on KFAI, FM 90.3. Hayden assessed the immenseness of his historic achievement, and honed in on what still must be done to advance quality of life for all Minnesota residents.


Corey Day, Executive Director, Minnesota DFL

Suluki Fardan

Day named DFL party Executive Director Minnesota’s DFL Party recently named Corey Day Executive Director. Day’s appointment, said State Representative Bobby Joe Champion, D-58B, “shows the DFL is serious about its commitment to embrace and engage new, youthful energy and ideas as a part of an intentional strategy to reflect the rich diversity of our state.” Day told Insight News last week that he is excited to have a job helping DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and DFL candidates

and voters take back control of Minnesota’s Legislature. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with all of you over the coming year as we prepare for one of the most important election days in Minnesota history,” Day said in a letter to DFL delegates last week. “We have a state House and Senate to win, eight congressional races up for grabs, a U.S. Senate seat to defend and, of course, the presidential election.,” he said. “From our state’s government

shutdown to the many near shutdowns in Washington, we’ve seen what happens when Republicans take control of government. Over the next year, we’re going to do everything we can to take it back,” Day said. He said DFLers are confident that they will present a vision that will resonate favorably with voters, and with the momentum a Presidential race creates, though daunting, the task of winning back Minnesota’s House and Senate, “is achievable.”

Office of State Senator Jeff Hayden

State Senator Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis)

Peter Christensen leading North High turnaround By Ivan B. Phifer Staff Writer Peter Christensen is the third principle in a three-year period to head North Community High School. “There is something to be said about consistent leadership,” Christensen said. “There are statistical studies that say students do better when they stay in one place. What I have been asked to do is to stay on board this year, and the next three years with the students here until they graduate,” he said. In January, there will be another principal hired to start the new 9th grade initiative with the Institute for Student Achievement. That principal will start with the 9th grade, while Christensen takes the current North High students until they graduate.

Suluki Fardan

Peter Christensen

Peter Christensen joined the North High School administrative team as principal on March 28, 2011. Christensen recently retired from St Paul Public Schools after 40 years of involvement. In retirement, he served as a mentor and coach for Minneapolis Public Schools administrative staff. “I got a chance to do some

Commentary We must create jobs


mentoring for people new to principalship,” Christensen said. “I was in training right before spring break and was asked what I thought about coming to North to help out. I saw what was going on and thought the children deserved a better shake,” he said. “The morale was terrible, and there was a certain amount of laissez faire attitude from everyone that the school would be closing anyway. Once you have the notion of being on your death bed as a school, its hard to be enthusiastic about the enterprise,” Christensen said. When word got back that North was not closing, Christensen knew immediately things could be turned around. “The three most important aspects in education are relationships, relationships, relationships,” he said.



New episodes of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s”


Joi Ridley / NAACP

The USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) was christened November 12th in San Diego, California.

U.S. Navy names new ship in honor of voting rights activist Medgar Evers In an honor bestowed on only a handful of individuals, the United States Navy selected NAACP civil and voting rights icon Medgar Evers as the namesake of their newest ship. Christened in San Diego, California on November 12 by his widow Myrlie EversWilliams, the USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) will serve as a supply ship for the Navy starting in the first quarter of 2012. “I am just so honored for Medgar and all of the other

people who gave their lives in the civil rights movement, particularly those in Mississippi. In my humble estimation, very few of them have received rightful acknowledgment of their contributions,” remarked Evers-Williams. “He was a man who did believe in this country, and he believed in his people. He wanted things to be just and fair, and he was willing to work for that.” Medgar Wiley Evers, an Army veteran, was born and


Understanding mental disorders


raised in Mississippi, where, after completing his military service in 1946, he returned to earn his degree from Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University). After graduation, Evers began working on behalf of the NAACP in the fight to end segregation. In 1954, Evers became the first NAACP state field secretary in Mississippi.


Plan Your Career

Job search strategies for salespeople


Page 2 • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Insight News


We must create jobs By Julianne Malveaux Last week, I had the opportunity to testify before the Congressional Progressive Caucus. I am grateful to Congressman Keith Ellison for the invite. Here are excerpts of my testimony: While I am sure that you are familiar with the data, I would like to take a moment to discuss the magnitude of the unemployment challenge. Officially, the unemployment rate in October was 9 percent, which meant that, officially, 13.9 percent of all Americans were unemployed. 5.8 million of these folks, or 42 percent of the unemployed have been without work for more than 27 weeks, or half a year. The average unemployed person has been out of work for 39


for adult African American men is 57.4 percent, a full ten percent below the same rate for white men. It is important to review the magnitude of this problem because different tactics may be used to respond to a 9 percent unemployment

“Our nation is losing ground and losing our leadership status internationally because we are neither generating jobs nor investing in the education that will prepare the workforce of the future.” rate than a 16 percent unemployment rate, than a 27 percent unemployment rate. A 9 percent rate might simply be considered a challenge, but a 27 percent rate, or the 30 percent rate for African American men must be considered a crisis. What are the solutions, then, for the challenges we face. Not only must the federal government be involved in job creation, but the private sector must be offered incentives to

Insight News is published weekly, every Monday by McFarlane Media Interests. Editor-In-Chief Al McFarlane CFO Adrianne Hamilton-Butler

Associate Editor & Associate Publisher B.P. Ford Vice President of Sales & Marketing Selene White

To Be Equal

Culture and Education Editor Irma McClaurin Director of Content & Production Patricia Weaver

By Marc H. Morial

Sr. Content & Production Coordinator Ben Williams

“Work is the only meaning I’ve ever known. Like the man in the song says, I just gotta keep on keepin’ on.” - Joe Frazier Years ago in a Philadelphia slaughterhouse, an aspiring young boxer trained in the early mornings by punching sides of beef. He would run up and down the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. The world associates these images with a fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, but they were part of the fascinating life of Smokin’ Joe Frazier, who died earlier this month at the age of 67. In many ways, the appropriation of Frazier’s early training days is emblematic of how, even at the height of his career, he was overshadowed by the slicker, brasher media

Production Andrew Notsch Distribution/Facilities Manager Jamal Mohamed Facilities Support / Assistant Producer, Conversations with Al McFarlane Bobby Rankin Receptionist Lue B. Lampley Staff Writer Ivan B. Phifer

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.

in health care, and in social services. Creating 5 million jobs at $50,000, with benefits and administrative costs would run us $500 million, and would reduce the unemployment rate by about 5 percent, and would increase tax revenue significantly. Those employed by federal programs could work in schools and in libraries, in repairing infrastructure, and in implementing neglected public services. It is would be my recommendation that employment funds flow to cities, not states, as urban issues are far more acute that state-wide issues, and because cities are likely to be blacker, browner, older, younger, and both richer and poorer than the rest of American. The economic bifurcation we see in cities is likely to be one of the reasons we see such strong

Occupy movements in urban areas. Many will ask where the money will come from to create jobs, especially as Congress grapples with debt ceiling related issues. There is overwhelming evidence that a country does not work its way through a recession, official or unofficial, by cutting employment or cutting programs. While there is no denying the self-imposed constraints that have come from the August agreement to cut the long-term debt, I might posit that the debt might be eliminated more quickly if American were put back to work. I would suggest that if cuts are necessary, then a tax increase to put America back to work would be in order. However, it might also be necessary to consider a special appropriation directed to job creation. Our nation’s future depends on it. Job creation is only the first step for securing America’s future. We also have to look at the issue of workforce readiness and job preparation. We are lagging woefully behind in the STEM areas, and in other international indicators of economic prosperity. We are 11th in the world in the number of people over 25 who have AA or BA degrees, falling behind Finland, South Korea, Ireland and Canada, among other nations. In order to continue to innovate, and to produce educated global citizens, we must spend more money, not lest, on both K-12 and higher education. While I realize that there must be a spirit of shared sacrifice in this economic climate, I would also suggest that cutting higher

education is equivalent to a farmer eating her seed corn, choosing to sacrifice tomorrow for the exigencies of today. My special concern is for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the work we do in post-secondary education and job creation, and the extent to which we may experience cuts in Title III funds in Supercommittee deliberations. Although the 38 HBCU colleges represent just 1.6 percent of the 4-year degree granting colleges, we produce more than 5.6 percent of our nation’s college graduates. We do more than our share of heavy lifting, preparing inner city, first generation, and financially challenged students. We need more support, not less. Our nation is losing ground and losing our leadership status internationally because we are neither generating jobs nor investing in the education that will prepare the workforce of the future. I realize that these are trying times, and yet innovation often emerges from trying times. We can create jobs at a modest cost, and improve communities along the way. We can support higher education, especially for the underserved. We can connect the public and private sectors with tax incentives to encourage business to employ those who have been out of work. Finally, we can encourage entrepreneurship by strengthening new businesses with government grants and tax incentives. Dr. Julianne Malveaux is President of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, NC

A quiet powerhouse, Smokin’ Joe Frazier stayed out of the spotlight

Publisher Batala-Ra McFarlane

Contributing Writers Maya Beecham Brenda Colston Julie Desmond S. Himie Marcia Humphrey Alaina L. Lewis Lydia Schwartz Stacey Taylor

be part of this solution. We have a rich tradition of federal involvement in job creation, ranging from the Depression era Works Progress Administration (WPA) to the JTPA (Jobs Training Partnership Act) of the 1980s. There are unmet needs in public infrastructure,


Artist Fellowships for Performing Musicians $25,000 E N R I C H I N G M I N N E S O TA ’ S C U LT U R A L C O M M U N I T Y With the generous support of the McKnight Foundation, MacPhail Center for Music annually awards fellowships which recognize and support outstanding Minnesota performing musicians. In 2012, four fellowships of $25,000 each will be awarded to solo musicians and/or ensembles. All musical styles will be considered. To order an application or for questions, call 612-767-5586 or visit

Administered by


JANUARY 23, 2012

favorite, Muhammad Ali. Although their animosity defined an era of boxing, Frazier boycotted the 1967 heavyweight elimination tournament to find a successor to Ali, and he personally Frazier petitioned President Richard M. Nixon to have Ali’s license reinstated. While Ali was banned from boxing, Frazier lent him money to pay his bills. “I’ve never fought anyone with a will so strong,” Ali would say of Frazier. I’ve always been an Ali fan myself, but the only time I ever rooted against Frazier was when he fought Ali. Frazier, in comparison, was a man of few words, who proved himself with hard work and action in the ring. He let his boxing speak for him. In many ways, Frazier’s very life, more than anything he said, defined the struggle of Black America. He was self-taught and self-reliant. He rose from crushing poverty in Jim Crow-era South Carolina,

one of 14 children born to struggling sharecroppers. He worked the fields from the age of 7 until he, like so many who are part of the Great Migrations of the 20th century, hopped a Greyhound bus to New York City before making his way to Philadelphia. After he retired from boxing Joe Frazier’s Gym became an important part of the Philadelphia neighborhood. Though it’s no longer a training facility, fans and former students flocked to the building upon learning of Frazier’s death. It had been a safe haven for young people, a center of the community. In contrast to the violence and sometimes hopelessness of the streets outside, young people learned discipline and hard work, and their lives were changed forever thanks to Smokin’ Joe. Marc Morial is the President and CEO of the National Urban League

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weeks. But these data are a pleasant fiction that ignores the reality of our nation’s unemployment. From Table A-15 of the monthly BLS Employment Situation report (USDL-111576) we learn that when those marginally attached to the labor force and those working part time who want full time work are included as unemployed, the rate for all Americans soars to 16.2 percent. That means that one in six Americans are unemployed. The situation is far more severe in the African American community, where the unemployment rate is 15.1 percent. This represents an improvement over the 16 percent rate that was measured last month, yet this is a rate that is still too high. If we look at this through the lens of the A-15 data, in other words, using the same projection that is used with overall rates, the 15.1 percent black unemployment rate actually looks more like 27.2 percent. African American men over twenty, with an official unemployment rate of 16.2 percent, actually experience unemployment at the 30 percent rate. In some of our nation’s largest cities, half of all African American men do not have work. Overall, the employment population ratio


Insight News • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Page 3

Cuts in education: A failing choice Child Watch

By Marian Wright Edelman Aristotle got it right when he said, “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.” Once upon a time America professed to believe in a strong public education system—at least for some children. And we still talk about public education as the great equalizer and pathway out of poverty but continue to fall far short in assuring millions of poor children, especially those of color, upward mobility. As if children and families were not suffering enough during this economic downturn, many states are choosing to balance budgets on the backs of children and to shift more costs

Hayden From 1 Al McFarlane: I like the sound: “Senator” Hayden, “Senator” Jeff Hayden. Jeff Hayden: Yes, it is an amazing journey and I am still pinching myself every morning as I wake up. AM: Let’s sort of recount the history. You were the second African American elected to serve in Minnesota House of Representatives from District 61, correct? JH: That is correct. I was the second African American and then my predecessor, many folks know former Representative Neva Walker was not only the first African American but the first African American woman to serve in the legislature. I won two elections. I won in ’08 and I won in ’10. Senator Berglin who has

away from government onto children and families who have fewer means to bear them. That is a shameful trend in public education today. Even when students are in school, they’re getting less than they used to. Of the 46 states that publish data in a manner allowing historical comparisons, 37 are providing less funding per student to local school districts this school year than they provided last year, and 30 are providing less funding than they did four years ago. Seventeen states have cut perstudent funding more than 10 percent from pre-recession levels, and four—South Carolina, Arizona, California, and Hawaii—have reduced per student funding for K-12 schools more than 20 percent. These cuts have major effects on critical learning opportunities. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has found funding cuts in Georgia will mean shortening the prekindergarten school year from 180 to 160 days for 86,000 fouryear-olds. Since the start of the

recession, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and other states have cut funding from early education programs to help close budget shortfalls. New Jersey cut funding for afterschool programs. In a 2009 survey of California parents, 41 percent reported their child’s school was cutting summer programs. Cuts limiting student learning time are likely to intensify in the coming year. An American Association of School Administrators survey reports 17 percent of respondents were considering shortening the school week to four days for the 2011-2012 school year and 40 percent were considering eliminating summer school programs. Summer learning loss is a major contributor to the achievement gap between poor and non-poor children. Districts across the country are beginning to cut extracurricular activities and to charge fees for supplies like biology safety goggles or printer ink. These education cuts come at

a time when American education is in dire straits. The United States ranks 24th among 30 developed countries in overall educational achievement for 15-year-olds. A study of education systems in 60 countries ranks the United States 31st in math achievement and 23rd in science achievement for 15-year-olds. More than 60 percent of all fourth, eighth, and 12th grade public school students in every racial and income group are reading or doing math below grade level. Nearly 80 percent or more of Black and Hispanic students in these grades are reading or doing math below grade level. A recent report by the Education Trust notes more than one in five high school graduates don’t meet the minimum standard required for Army enlistment as measured by the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). Among applicants of color, the ineligibility rates are even higher: 29 percent of Hispanics and 39 percent of African Americans are ineligible based on their AFQT scores. Children should be getting

served prestigiously and distinguishably for over 39 years decided to retire at the end of July to take a job helping Hennepin County set up their health policy for the President’s Affordable Care Act. The seat became open and I threw my hat in ring. We were successful. AM: You have become the first African-American person elected to the Senate from the City of Minneapolis. You represent a district that had been identified as a district that likely should produce an African American or a person of color to serve in the Senate. And there are many districts like that in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. You are joining Senator John Harrington former Police Chief in Saint Paul who was elected to the State Senate from District 65. Now, the two of you are the only African American members of the Senate. I identified you earlier on as part

Suluki Fardan

State Senator Jeff Hayden and father Peter Hayden of the Dynamic Duo. I used to refer to you and Representative Bobby Joe Champion, who represents District 58B, as the Dynamic Duo, as the only Blacks in the House of Representatives. That changed when Representative Rena Moran was elected from St. Paul’s Legislative District 65A.

Also, at that time, Harrington was elected to the Senate. Now, the term Dynamic Duo will refer to you and Harrington in the Senate, and to Champion and Moran in the House. JH: I just have so much respect for Chief Harrington, Senator Harrington, in kind of the way that he approaches his

more quality instructional time, not less, to prepare to compete in the rapidly globalizing economy. Instead they’re being held back and provided less school days and hours by stopgap solutions to budget problems they didn’t cause. Too many adults seem to lack a moral, common, and fiscal sense context for making decisions about what to cut and what to invest in. The Children’s Defense Fund’s first publication in 1974 was on Children Out of School in America. We documented two million children not enrolled in school, including hundreds of thousands of children with disabilities. As we went door to door interviewing thousands of families in 30 census tracts for that initial study, we never thought to ask the question, “Is your child home today because her school is closed to help balance your district’s budget?” At the Children’s Defense Fund we believe education is a basic human right and an essential tool for evening the odds for all children and

promoting upward mobility for children left behind. Education gives you the tools to improve not only your own life but the lives of others and to leave the world better than you found it. How can we expect our children to create a better America if we don’t give them a good education? Cuts being proposed in Washington and in the states and localities around the country may be saving a few dollars on a balance sheet today—but they will cost us dearly tomorrow as a nation. How shortsighted we are. Where are our priorities? What are our values?

work and his ability to go from being historic, as the second African American Police Chief in the State, and now the second African American Senator (following the late Senator Bob Lewis of St. Louis Park,). He has done great work. We don’t want to forget about our good friend, our Latina friend, Senator Patricia Torres Ray. So now, we have six people of color in the Legislature including Representative Rena Moran and Representative Carlos Mariani, who has represented the West Side for almost 20 years. We should have well over 20 people of color. We should have in the mid-20s. We should have maybe 10 or 12 African Americans in that number. So as much as this is historic and we are still doing these kinds of firsts, I still know that we have a long way to go if we are going to have the proper and equitable representation throughout our State. Achieving proper

representation leads to better policy decisions and allows us to make sure that everybody gets an opportunity to prosper.

Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.

AM: Let me ask you to reflect on your career, the highlights of your career, the past year, two years as a member of the House of Representatives and then after that ask you to think about what appear to be priorities moving into your new role as a Senator. JH: One of the highlights of my time there was the work that Representative Champion and I did around getting people out of poverty, wealth creation, developing economic strategies for people to move from perpetual poverty toward realizing their American dreams. So Representative Champion and I worked with the Governor Mark Dayton to bring him to North Minneapolis, a distressed


Page 4 • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Insight News

EDUCATION Keeping Black boys out of special education education be that African American male teachers count for only one percent of all teachers in public schools? • 30 percent of special education teachers are unqualified. Why do the majority of these unqualified teachers work in African American schools? • Why do African American males have a 3.26 greater chance of being labeled mentally retarded than White females, a 2.34 greater chance of being placed in an LD classroom, and an astronomical 5.52 greater chance of being placed in an emotionally disturbed classroom?

From an African American boy’s first day in kindergarten (or preschool), the quest to mold him into the “ideal” student begins. However, his short attention span, high energy, and slow maturation will frustrate his teacher as she fails to transform him into a quiet, compliant student. Unable to “fix” the child, the teacher refers him to special education. The teacher, a special education teacher, a psychologist, a social worker or counselor, and the principal will meet to discuss the student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). The parent may or may not know about this, the most important meeting of her son’s life. This meeting will determine whether the student… • Will stay in the regular classroom or whether he will receive special education services. • Will be diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), or any of the many psychological labels that students receive in special education. • May be prescribed Ritalin. African American children are only 17 percent of the total school population in America. Yet they represent more than 41 percent of students in special education, of which 80 percent are Black males. In contrast, Black students are only six percent of gifted classes. Special education was never designed to be a dumping ground for African American male students. Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, author of the bestselling Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education, says, “Where special education once began as a noble attempt to ensure that all children received a fair and equal education, no matter their disability, today it is misused by teachers who don’t know how to teach to the learning


styles and emotional state of Black boys. Instead of improving their pedagogy and classroom management skills, they punish the child with a special education placement.” As a result, a $60 billion special education industry has arisen and profited from the misfortune of Black boys and their families. Perhaps that is why… • 20 percent of America’s teachers make 80 percent of the referrals into special education. • ADD and ADHD represent 50 percent of the diagnoses of all children placed in special education. • 85 percent of all special education students receive drugs. • Only 27 percent of African American male special education students graduate from high school. Eighty percent of all students referred to special education are below grade level in reading and

writing. In other words, illiteracy is the leading precursor of special education placement. Teaching boys how to read is critical to mainstreaming students back into the classroom and preventing special education placements from occurring in the first place. African American male students are in a state of emergency. Placement into special education will, in large measure, determine a student’s path in life. With that in mind, Kunjufu asks, is there a relationship between… • Special education and prison? • Illiteracy and incarceration? • Ritalin and cocaine? If as a nation we fail to address these issues and their root causes, the future will be bleak for yet another generation of Black boys. Special education, the new segregation “White students have the greatest probability of being placed in an inclusive classroom and the least of being placed in a substantially

separate environment,” says Kunjufu. “In stark contrast, African Americans have the least probability of being placed in an inclusive classroom and the greatest of being placed in a separate environment.” The disproportionate placement of Black male students in special education has become so widespread that it has the appearance of being a normal and accepted practice. However, says Kunjufu, “It is not normal, and it is not acceptable.” Yet few educators and policy makers speak out against the racist practices systemwide and in the classroom that have created this tremendous problem. To correct this grave injustice, racism in education must be addressed. • Is there a correlation between the low percentage of white females in special education and the fact that 83 percent of elementary school teachers are White females? • Could the reason for the high placement rate of African American males in special

The rescue mission We must first change the mission of special education. Less than 10 percent of special education students return to and stay in mainstream classrooms. Instead of being the last stop in a child’s journey to an education, special education should be a temporary stop for remediation. The goal should be to mainstream the student as quickly as reasonably possible back into the classroom. To accomplish this goal, Dr. Kunjufu recommends the following strategies: Pre-Referral Intervention The goal of this intervention is to maintain a student in general education if at all possible. According to the National Association of Black School Educators (NABSE), pre-referral intervention focuses on the teacher’s ability to work with a student’s academic and/or behavioral problems. Early Intervention This strategy is particularly effective with boys who are having issues with self-discipline. The power struggle that can occur between Black boys and female teachers and their mothers can lead to special education placement. Rites of passage programs can

help them develop character and the positive qualities of manhood. In-School Suspensions Instead of giving out-of-school suspensions for minor infractions, in-school suspensions will ensure that students continue with their academic coursework instead of playing video games at home. Furthermore, an Africentric lesson plan helps students develop cultural awareness and character. Single Gender Classes African American boys thrive in single gender classrooms. According to the National Association of Single Sex Public Education, single gender classrooms are in compliance with Title 9 legislation—as long as schools provide the same resources for females. Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education is a researchbased master work written by a leading advocate for African American boys. The anecdotal stories of how prominent African American men overcame their special education pasts, as well as a wealth of research, strategies, and best practices will inspire educators, school leaders, policy makers, and parents to significantly reduce the number of African American male students in special education. About the Author National bestselling author of more than 30 books and consultant to most urban school districts, Dr. Kunjufu has been a guest twice on Oprah and a frequent guest on the Michael Baisden and Rev. Al Sharpton radio programs. For additional information on Educating the African American and Hispanic Male Child National Conference, contact 1-800-5521991, Fax# (708) 672-0466. P.O. Box 1799, Chicago Heights, IL 60412. Website: http:// www.africanamericanimages. com, Email: aarcher@

Insight News • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Page 5

AESTHETICS Oprah Network orders new episodes of “Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s” ( -- OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is picking up 10 additional episodes of the new family docu-series “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” (a total of 18 episodes for the first season), it was announced recently by Sheri Salata and Erik Logan, presidents, OWN. The series, which debuted on October 15, has since shown strong ratings growth week-toweek becoming the network’s highest rated program in the key female 25-54 demo. The series follows the loud, loving and musical Montgomery family as they work to expand their family-owned business, one soulful dish at a time. When Robbie Montgomery, a 1960s backup singer and former Ikette, suffered a collapsed lung and had to stop singing, she decided to pour her talents into opening a soul food restaurant. At her popular St. Louis eatery, Sweetie Pie’s, both hilarity and drama are offered up, and now Miss Robbie

is preparing to launch a third location with a little help from her son and partner Tim. The series is produced by Pilgrim Films & Television. Executive Producers are Craig Piligian, Tim Brietbach, Jeff Keane, Jenn Duncan and Steve Luebbert. “The audience is really responding to this program, and the ratings continue to build, which is a great testament to the show,” said Logan. “We’ve all fallen in love with the Montgomery family. You never know what they’ll do or say next. We couldn’t be more pleased viewers are tuning in to enjoy all the fun,” said Salata. New series “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” (Saturdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT) has made ratings waves as the #1 new show on OWN in the key female demo averaging a .38 W25-54, .42 HH and 388,000 total viewers (up +73% W25-54, +17% HH and +13% P2+ versus year ago Discovery Health numbers). It notched a series high this earlier

The Cast of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” this month, November 12 with a .46 W25-54, ranked #2 in its time period in African American W2554 and ranked #5 in primetime

overall out of 95 ad-supported networks in African American W25-54. On average, African American viewers comprise 60%

Courtesy of Oprah Winfrey Network

of the audience, with 6.1 million total viewers tuning in since the series launch.

“Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” featuring a fun-loving AfricanAmerican family running a popular soul food restaurant in St. Louis, has been praised by critics for its concept departure from the existing climate of reality television brawls and professional athlete baby mamas/housewives drama. A Yahoo TV critic stated “This St. Louis, Missouri family is just like ours. We like and cry with them. We desperately want them to succeed. When they triumph over their foibles we all believe that we can as well. OWN has created a reality show that flies above the riff raff. They have done the impossible.” With three episodes remaining in their initial run, the cast of “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” returns to production in December to shoot 10 additional episodes with the new episodes to debut in the spring. Until then, viewers can catch the remaining episodes on Saturdays at 9pm EST/PST.

Common: The dreamer, the believer human being, recognizing that sometimes I make mistakes and bad choices. But God is my guide and love is the strongest element in the mix, so I try to not judge myself too much, knowing that at the end of the day, my greatest judge will be Jehovah God.

Film Review By Kam Williams Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn in Chicago on March 13, 1972, Common rose to prominence as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists, having garnered multiple Grammy Awards for his first eight albums. Common’s ninth, The Dreamer, The Believer, will be released in December by Warner Brothers Records. In 2004, he partnered with fellow Chicago native and rap music mega-star Kanye West to produce the album BE, which went on to garner four Grammy Award nominations. Three years later, Common released his critically-acclaimed seventh album, Finding Forever, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Album Chart and went on to earn him another Grammy. His eighth album, Universal Mind Control, was released in 2008 and was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Rap Album. Common’s film credits include “Smokin’ Aces,” “American Gangster,” “Wanted,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Date Night” and “Just Wright.” In addition, he is set to co-star opposite Jennifer Garner next year in “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” On TV, Common enjoys a recurring role on the AMC Network series “Hell on Wheels.” He plays Elam, a freed slave who heads West in search of work on the Transcontinental Railroad in post-Civil War America. His memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, was published in September by Atria Books. He is also the author of several children’s books, including The MIRROR and M, its followup, I Like You But I Love Me, which was nominated for a NAACP Image Award, and M.E. (Mixed Emotions). In 2000, Common launched the Common Ground Foundation, with the mission to empower disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring them. Here, he talks about serving as the voice of Seymour in the animated comedy Happy Feet Two. Kam Williams: Hey Common, how you been, bro? Common: Great! Great! How you been, Kam? KW: Very well, thanks. Let me get right to questions sent in by fans. Judyth Piazza asks: What interested you in playing Seymour? C: The reason why I really wanted to play Seymour was because Happy Feet Two is a family movie that can touch people of all ages. So, I saw the opportunity to be in the movie and to work with [director] George Miller, who is an incredibly talented visionary, as a great honor and blessing. KW: Larry Greenberg asks: What is the acting process like when you’re voicing an animated character? Do you picture the character saying the words? C: First of all, you start by finding the pulse of the character, because even though

KW: Jimmy has another question: Do you think President Obama has made a good enough effort to create jobs, balance the budget and work with the Republicans in Congress to move this country forward? C: I think the President is doing his best to create jobs and better situations for the American people. As far as working with Republicans, I believe he’s doing what he can to make that happen.


Wikimedia Commons

it’s animated, it still has a soul. George Miller creates characters who have heart, so you start by finding their essence. Then you bring that essence to the character, and add your imagination.

Chicago? C: Just enjoying time with my friends, from hanging out with the kids I grew up with, to playing basketball, to riding up and down Lake Shore Drive. Having fun!

KW: Teresa Emerson asks says: You’re really branching out between Seymour in Happy Feet 2 and Elam Ferguson in Hell on Wheels on AMC. What surprising role will you be tackling next? C: God willing, I’ll be doing leading roles in some dramas, comedies and action films. My goal is to develop into a great actor.

KW: Denise Clay asks: When did you know that you had a future as a lyricist and poet? C: I felt I had a future when I did I Used to Love H.E.R. When that was released, I was like, “Man, I really can do something.” I really felt strong about it.

KW: Aleesha Houston asks: Have you ever eaten at Harold’s Chicken in Chicago? C: Of course, Aleesha! I grew up eating at Harold’s my whole life, specifically, the one that used to be at 88th and Stony Island Avenue. KW: Aleesha would also like to know, what is your fondest memory of growing up in

KW: Jimmy Bayan says: Common, through your lyrics and your comments, you’ve seemed to attract a bit of controversy over the years. Being a rapper, in the past some of your lyrics have been flagged controversial. Being a father and a Christian, one could say you’re a bit of a mixed bag. I’m trying to get to the essence of who Common is. Tell me how your journey has morphed you into the man you are today. C: I put God first, and strive to do my best by being a loving

KW: Felicia Haney says: Do you think there’s something hypocritical and patently political about conservatives complaining about you being an invited guest to the White House but being silent about you starring in a children’s film? C: Yeah, their complaining about my being invited to the White House was just me getting caught up in politics. They didn’t even know who I really am. KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier says: You participated in the video Yes We Can. Do you think Hip-Hop was a driving force behind Obama’s presidential campaign paving the way to the White House? C: Yes, I definitely think HipHop was one of the strong forces behind President Obama’s winning the election. KW: Patricia would also like to know, what message you want the public to take away from your memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense? C: I just want people to feel like they can achieve something great in their lives. We all go through rough times, but love is the antidote. You’ve got to dream and just believe in yourself. And if you believe, you will achieve it.

KW: Children’s book author Irene Smalls asks: To what do you attribute your ability to maintain your cool in the craziness of show business? C: I attribute it to God, selfesteem, and knowing your purpose in life. It can’t be based on anything material

or external. KW: Thanks again for the time, Common, and best of luck with the movie, the TV show and the new album. C: Thanks, Kam, I appreciate it.

Page 6 • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Insight News

HEALTH Understanding mental disorders Murua (Swahili for ‘Respect’) By Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., L.P. When I was in graduate school learning to become a psychologist, it quickly became apparent to me that one of the goals of our training program was to teach us how to quickly and accurately label people with various types of mental health disorders. I distinctly remember one lecture where the professor put the word “disease” on the board by spelling is as “Dis-Ease” as a way of emphasizing that folks who suffer from various types of mental illnesses experience discomfort with their symptoms. Later, we learned that not everybody who has a mental health problem

experiences a discomfort or a lack of ease with his or her problems. For example, a few articles ago, I wrote about people who have Narcissistic Personality Disorders, who rarely feel uncomfortable about their own symptoms. Their discomfort is generally around the “lack of recognition and compliance” that they experience from others. Additionally, some mental health disorders can be developed as the result of experiencing “life.” For example, multiple life factors can create stressors that would naturally impact anyone’s functioning. Among these factors are incidents such as losing one’s job, breaking up in relationships, experiencing violence, assault, homicide in one’s family, or exposure to natural disasters such as the recent tornado that hit North Minneapolis. As a result, we know that many factors contribute to development and maintenance of mental health problems. This article will provide

information on the different ideas we have about how mental disorders are formed and what we can do to buffer ourselves from them. What is A Mental Illness? The first step to understanding a mental disorder is to recognize that mental disorders are, by definition, based on a concept that a person is exhibiting “abnormal” behaviors that impact their daily functioning in multiple life areas such as school, work, home, interpersonal relationships etc. Additionally, having a mental health disorder would include having problems with one’s emotions, exhibiting behavior that is disturbing to others, experiencing irrational thoughts, and disturbances in perceptions. While abnormal behavior can be defined in many ways, a statistical criterion specifies that abnormality is “any substantial deviation from the average.” On the other hand, a “social norms” criterion defines abnormal behavior as “any behavior that

differs significantly from the norms of society.” Finally, some believe that abnormality should be defined by a widely accepted set of standards of what is perceived as psychologically “unhealthy.” These standards are classified in a manual called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). Mental health providers use the DSM-IV to diagnose and classify mental disorders. The belief is that classification gives mental health professionals a quick means of describing a cluster of symptoms in order to develop effective treatments. The standard classification system evaluates people on five areas (referred to as Axes), such that Axis I evaluates the presence of any clinical syndromes in need of treatment (e.g. depression). Axis II refers to any maladaptive personality traits (e.g.. Narcissistic Personality Disorder). Axis III describes any physical illness that the person may have (e.g. Diabetes); Axis IV assesses the stress in the patient’s

life (e.g. Divorce, Job Loss); and Axis V measures the person’s current level of functioning (from severe impairment to very mild or no impairments). The problem with this system is that it relies on “averages” and “social norms.” The arguments against the system are that the averages and norms do not often incorporate the “averages” and “social norms” of ethnic minority groups. How Do People Get Mental Illnesses? There are several theories regarding the development of mental illnesses in people. To me, the most logical theory is one often referred to as the “diathesis-stress model.” I think that it makes sense to me because I have grown up with the concept within the context of my community. The diathesisstress theory proposes that a person’s genetic makeup creates a diathesis, or predisposition, toward a certain mental disorder, which may develop if certain environmental conditions are met.

Sayings such as “that was the straw that broke the camel’s back” or “pressures bursts pipes” or “except for the grace of God go I” are all examples of the concepts affiliated with the diathesis-stress theory. It simply means that all of us have various levels of vulnerability or susceptibility to different types of illnesses (physical and mental) that may be genetically loaded, and the disorder could develop in us under certain conditions that provide triggers for problems. Situations such as increased stress, severe trauma and losses, decreased support, or physical health challenges may serve as triggers or risk factors that lead to mental health disorders. On the other hand, situations such as increased financial stability, strong religious faith, increased social support, decreased stress, good physical health, and general life happiness would serve as buffers or protective factors against the development of mental illnesses. Other theories about the development of mental disorders are often limited and presuppose that mental disorders are primarily due to singular factors such as one’s biological traits, unresolved conflicts, learning maladaptive behaviors, endorsing negative thought patterns, having dysfunctional interpersonal relationships or exposure to social ills and stresses. People who endorse the biological theory believe that any psychological disorder is similar to a physical illness. This perspective assumes that symptoms are used to diagnose the underlying “mental illness,” which results from a physical origin. When medical doctors studied Black soldiers who had syphilis and discovered that general paresis, (the deterioration of mental and physical processes) were the result of venereal disease, biological researchers began to make greater efforts to understand and re-think


Health From 6 the roles that brain chemistry and genetics play in causing mental illnesses. An important implication of this approach is that abnormal behavior and cognition (e.g. mood, attention) may be late and convergent outcomes of altered brain development. While we are still in the early days of using powerful technologies such as PET, fMRI, MEG, and high resolution EEG, initial studies of brain development demonstrate delays in cortical maturation in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Additionally, studies

Insight News • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Page 7 is a method by which clinicians attempt to give clients insight into their unconscious conflicts and thereby make them healthier. Another popular theory about the development of mental disorders is the learning perspective. Social learning theory surmises that psychological disturbances arise from learning abnormal responses—often in response to having to cope with abnormal circumstances. Treatment usually consists of trying to extinguish the maladaptive behavior and help individuals “re-learn” new, healthier patterns of behaving. On the other hand, another theory, the cognitive perspective suggests that, in addition to the influence of the learned behaviors, the

“... mental health problems are NOT due to weakness, the devil, or faulty people.” have shown that people who have anxiety disorders often produce biologically different profiles involving increases in the hormone cortisol. It has also been found that, because of their biological loadings, problems such as mood disorders (like depression or mania), attention deficit, anxiety disorders and disorders of thinking or perception (such as schizophrenia) are most effectively treated by a combination of medication coupled with psychotherapy. Some clinicians use the psychoanalytic/psychosexual approach when describing the roots of mental disorders. Developed by Sigmund Freud, the psychoanalytic approach holds that unresolved sexual conflicts in early childhood or conflicts between the id, ego, and superego set the stage for psychological disorders later in life. The “id” is the part of oneself that is driven by basic disorganized, instinctual patterns and needs; the ego is the organized, realistic part of the self; and the super-ego is the part of us that is critical and moralizing. According to this theory, when the ego becomes too weak, abnormal behavior results. The psychoanalytic perspective, like the biological model, views symptoms as being produced by unconscious underlying disorders. Psychoanalysis, a deep probing of one’s thoughts and feelings,

interpretations a person places on an event are significant determinants of how he or she will respond to that event. Cognitive therapies emphasize changing negative thoughts, perceptions, or cognitions to allow the person to break free of maladaptive behaviors. In cognitive behavior theory, we teach people “what you think affects how you feel and how you feel affects how you behave.” Two additional theories exist that explain the development and maintenance of mental disorders. These two theories consider the social contexts/environments in which people live. For example, the Interpersonal or Familysystems perspective suggests that the source of a mental disorder may lie within the social relationships the person has with others. One example of this type of impaired family relationships would be parents who put their children in the middle of their conflicts by using indirect communications whereas they require their children to discuss something with the other parent that should be between the two adults. Another example of the type of interpersonal condition that can create a mental disorder is when parents force children to choose sides between parental loyalties. On the other hand, the Socio-cultural perspective looks for the source of psychological disturbances in the society in which

a person lives. This perspective suggests that conditions such as overcrowding, crime, and poverty may produce undesirable behaviors. According to this theory, being poor may make it more difficult to cope with severe stress and thereby result in greater incidences of mental illness being diagnosed among the poor. African Americans are disproportionately poor, and consequently are among the group most often diagnosed and under-treated for mental health concerns. One psychiatrist, Dr. Thomas Szasz wrote an article in 1960 entitled The Myth of Mental Illness, wherein he posited that mental illness is a “sociallyreferenced” concept such that behaviors perceived as “abnormal” in one group may be perceived as “normal” within another context. Additionally, he argued that mental illnesses could best be described as “problems in living.” The concept of “problems in living” is emphasized in the work of one leading Black psychologist, Dr. Na’im Akbar, who proposed that for African Americans there are four types of mental health disorders –all of which are consequences of posttraumatic slavery syndrome. He describes these “self-disorders” as the follows. Dr. Akbar contends that there are groups of African Americans who have “Alien self disorder” in that they ignore racism and exhibit behaviors that they perceive as being most characterized by white people (acting white). The second type of disorder is called the “Antiself disorder.” According to Dr. Akbar, African Americans who exhibit these disorders actually hate other Blacks and identify with whites (and their historically projected hostilities toward other Blacks).This type of person would say that “Black folks are lazy, on welfare, steal.” Dr. Akbar would also contend that some African Americans have “Self-destructive Disorders.” People with SelfDestructive Disorders make selfdefeating attempts to survive in a society that frustrates their efforts by exhibiting multiple types of self-sabotaging behaviors ranging from not getting an education, to engaging in illegal activities, to the poor use of money and credit. Finally, Dr. Akbar describes those who have “Organic Disorders.” He contends that when mental disorders get to the point that they affect your physical health and

must be treated medically, it is because of a variety of social ills (from stress, exposures to toxins, poor diet, lifestyle problems, multiple losses, discrimination etc.). He contends that people who have Organic Disorders are sick people (due to a sick society). In the end, the truth is that all of us know somebody—Uncle Ray-Ray, Pookey, or LaQuisha them—who struggle with mental illnesses. Knowing their causes, and understanding more about how they are developed and maintained should help relieve the stigma that mental health problems are NOT due to weakness, the devil, or faulty people. Hopefully, this article has helped each reader to recognize the

need for respect, support, empathy and hope among anyone who is (or who has a family member who is) struggling with a mental disorder. We should all move forward with a full recognition that “pressures (and we all have them) break pipes” and “except for the grace of God, go [we].” BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, Ph.D., L.P. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who serves as the President of Brakins Consulting and Psychological Services, and Executive Director of the African American Child Wellness Institute. She has over 30 years of experience in the field psychology specializing

in violence recovery and multicultural mental health and is recognized as a Board Certified Diplomat/Fellow, in African Centered/Black Psychology by the Association of Black Psychologists. Dr. Garrett-Akinsanya warns that this column should in no way be construed as constituting a therapeutic relationship through counseling or advice. To forward a comment about this article or to make an appointment, please contact Dr. Garrett-Akinsanya by emailing her at: bravadaakinsanya@ or by telephone at 763-522-0100 or 612-302-3140.

Page 8 • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Insight News

Christensen From 1 “It takes awhile for young people to trust somebody new and build relationships up. I think they have seen me demonstrate that I am invested in their success. We don’t worry about the adults, we do things that are in the best interest of the students,” Christensen said. Christensen began his career as an English teacher in St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) from 1970-75 before becoming a middle school and high school assistant principal from 1975-

Evers From 1 As field secretary, Evers organized boycotts and demonstrations to bring

1996. He served as principal of Battle Creek Middle School in St. Paul from 1996-2007. He served as the director of scholar support services for the Wallin Foundation in 2009 and held interim principal positions at Highland Park Senior High School as well as Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet School in St. Paul in 2010. Christensen received his Bachelor of Science degree in English and Master of Science degree in educational administration from the College of St. Thomas. He completed his coursework for a doctorate in educational administration at the University of Minnesota.

From 2007-09 Christensen was executive director of high school education for SPPS, a position that oversees all seven traditional and three alternative high schools in St Paul, managing 10 principals, 775 teachers and 10,000 students. “You let people know what your vision is and what your goals are,” Christensen said. “My message is consistent with the district’s message for teaching; which is the notion of cognitive engagement,” he said. Christensen wants all students to learn in an interactive way. “Good teaching involves students and teachers that are

real and authentic. Students are responding, giving opinions, and feedback to one another,” he said. Another important factor Christensen mentions is the connection from class to class. “Once you see how this all fits together as a learner, things flow together. This includes one of the key fundamentals essential to a student’s education, a healthy breakfast. “At a principal’s meeting, we discussed a program that changes how we do breakfast. The students used to enter in the west building, go to the far south side building, and go back to the east building for

class. It didn’t work out, students were late for class. Now, they receive breakfast as they come in the door to make it more efficient. More kids will eat a healthier breakfast and they become more attentive,” Christensen said. “The adults did not want it, but it’s for the students. That’s an example of putting your money where your mouth is.” Self-responsibility is another aspect Christensen expresses to the students whole-heartedly. “As gently as possible, I lectured them about their responsibility to their families and themselves. The phrase was ‘man up’; take some responsibility.

We have opportunities here and at North Commons. All those opportunities exist that they need, but they have to take advantage of it,” Christensen said. Christensen does not just want students to graduate; he wants them to be curious of their learning beyond college. Although Christensen takes no credit, the efforts are proving effective. “Test scores are up 5.2% in math, 1.9% in reading and 13.1% in science. Enrollment is up, attendance is up and suspensions are down,” he said. Christensen will be principal of North High School until the graduating class of 2014.

attention to the pervasive discrimination and urge an end to racial injustice. He also led the investigation into the murder of Emmitt Till, who, at the age of 14, was killed for talking to a white woman. Evers may be best

remembered for his fight to secure voting rights for all Americans. He helped lead the charge for voting rights in Mississippi, organizing voter registration efforts across the state. After returning from an NAACP meeting on June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers was assassinated outside his home by a member of the White Citizens’ Council. Just two months before his murder, Evers anticipated that his work for

civil rights would bring about his demise. “I expect to be shot anytime I step out of my car… if I die, it will be in a good cause.” Evers murder served as one of the catalysts for President John F. Kennedy to request that Congress create a national civil rights bill. “This is a truly special occasion,” said NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Medgar Evers has been an inspiration to so many in the civil rights

community and across the country. This honor by our Navy is befitting of his legacy.” “He was committed to his fellow human beings and the dream of making America a nation for all its citizens,” said Navy Secretary and former Governor Ray Mabus during the dedication event. USNS Medgar Evers is the 13th ship of the Lewis and Clark (T-AKE) Class of dry cargo ships General Dynamics

NASSCO is building for the U.S. Navy. NASSCO began constructing USNS Medgar Evers in April 2010. “Each ship in the T-AKE Class is named for a noted pioneer in our nation’s history,” said Fred Harris, president of NASSCO. “Mr. Evers was Army veteran of World War II and an important civil rights pioneer. The NASSCO team is proud to add Medgar Evers’ name to this distinguished list.”

Insight News • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Page 9

LIFESTYLE Staying off the naughty (spending) list:

10 ways to avoid post-holiday regrets T

he holidays are upon us, bringing all those personal and family images and sensations we cherish. But for many of us, there are a few not-sojoyous holiday sights (a purse overflowing with credit card receipts) and sounds (the caching! of the cash registers marking our escalating debt). These negatives can easily outweigh all that we love about the holiday season, especially during this less-than-prosperous economic period. “Overall, the recession has brought about a renewed dedication to saving,” says Tyson, author of Personal Finance for Dummies, 6th Edition (Wiley, ISBN: 978-0470-50693-6, $21.99). “Before the recession, our national personal savings rate was close to zero, and now it’s around 4 percent. But it is very important that you not let your holiday spending zap all of the saving progress you made during the year.” “Whether it’s a dedication to the gift-giving tradition, a sense of obligation, or a feeling that the holidays entitle us to have a little more fun than usual, too many of us seem to turn a blind eye to the budget-busting reality of all that spending over just a couple of months,” says Tyson. “Don’t let excessive holiday spending cause any unnecessary financial stress for you and your family.” What if you could have a wonderful, memorable holiday and avoid the financial hangover afterwards? Tyson provides great tips on how to keep your holiday spending in check. Find an alternative to gift-giving during the holidays. Many people feel they have to give gifts during the holidays, either because it’s a family tradition or because they know their friends and relatives have gotten gifts for them. There are plenty of great ways to trade in this tradition for another one that is even more meaningful, and chances are your family and friends will be happy to save gift-buying dough as well. “Instead of exchanging gifts, your family members might want to pool their money and spend it on a holiday outing,” says Tyson. “If you have kids, you’ll probably want to get them a little something, but set strict spending limits. Instead of piling




up the toys, let each child choose an outing or event that he or she gets to spend with you oneon-one. Kids will look back on the valuable time you’ve spent together a lot more fondly than they will any toy or video game they use a couple of times and then toss aside.” If you must buy gifts, cut your expenses elsewhere as necessary. Perhaps you’d rather dine out or go to the movies less, or maybe you can forego that new pair of shoes you’ve been wanting for yourself in order to afford gifts for the grandparents. “It doesn’t matter where you make cuts, just that you make them,” says Tyson. “Keeping your other spending under control while you’re out there doing your shopping can be a challenge, but just keep repeating to yourself the importance of not overspending. That way when it comes time to actually pass out those presents you’ve purchased, you can do it without grimacing as you think about the damage they did to your bank account.”



Set a budget and keep tabs on what you are spending. While you’re doing your holiday shopping, your new best friends should be your checkbook register, credit card statements, and all of your receipts. It’s easy to get into a spending rhythm when shopping for yourself or others, and that’s why you need to physically write down every purchase you make and make sure you don’t go over your budget. “When you start to add up everything you’re spending, you may be shocked at what all those expenses from this store and that store add up to be,” says Tyson. “And don’t forget about all those ‘necessary’ holiday extras. Most people don’t budget their shopping and don’t realize that by the time you buy all the presents, plus wrapping paper, cards, decorations, etc., it’s added up to a ridiculous amount. Having a budget that you know you must stick to will help keep your impulse spending from getting out of hand and will help you hone in on the most reasonably priced holiday items.”





Plan what you are going to buy, and don’t get any extras!

Particularly during the holidays, companies pull out their most appealing packaging in hopes of snagging the eyes of shoppers. That’s why along with your budget, you’re going to want to take an exact list of what you want to buy for your gift recipients. Don’t go shopping for someone’s gift until you know exactly what you are going to buy. “It’s very easy to go in with no plan, see something you like, and get it simply because you have no idea what else to get for a hard-to-buy-for relative despite the gift’s significant price tag,” says Tyson. “Another temptation that the list will help you squelch is the desire to buy those little knickknacks here and there that you think will make nice small additions to the gifts you’ve purchased. Very rarely are things like this necessary, and if you’ve got your list in hand, it will be easier for you to pass them by without hesitation.” Use the season to set a good example for your kids. Your kids learn about money from you. And if they see you spending left and right during the holiday season, the lesson they come away with isn’t going to be a good one. During the holidays, it’s very easy for the “gimmee gimmee gimmee” materialistic attitude to get out of control. After all, kids are bombarded with constant advertisements for toys, clothes, and the latest gadgets you can be guaranteed they’ll want (or at least think they do!). “There’s plenty you can do to help kids appreciate the true meaning of the holidays,” says Tyson. “Have them give some of their money to a local charity, participate in a program in which they buy and wrap gifts for underprivileged kids, or volunteer at a soup kitchen. It can be an eyeopening experience for kids to see that not everyone has enough money to have an enjoyable holiday.”



Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true. Retailers run all sorts of specials to induce consumers to buy now, and the holidays offer these companies easy prey in the form of deal-seeking, cash-strapped consumers.



Holiday travel tips from MSP Airport Whether you are flying home to be with family, meeting the future in-laws or just getting away for a few days, be sure to get to the airport early for your flight. While the number of travelers this year will be only slightly higher than last, it’s always a good idea during the holidays to plan ahead and arrive early at MinneapolisSt. Paul International Airport (MSP). “Travelers departing Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this holiday season should arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their departure,” said Jeff Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP. “Mornings can be especially busy.” If you haven’t flown in a while, plan ahead and read the

following tips for a smooth journey. Security screening: Be sure to take your 1-quart size bag of liquids out of your carry-on luggage to be screened separately. The security checkpoint closest to where you check in isn’t always the best option. Consider using Checkpoint 6 – the checkpoint with the most queuing capacity - in the ticketing lobby at Terminal 1-Lindbergh, even if your departure gate is on the A, B, C, D or E concourse. Check out the Transportation Security Administration’s “Good Gravy: Let’s Talk Turkey” blog post for even more helpful tips and screening information. good-gravy-lets-talk-turkey-

tsa-holiday.html New at MSP: Taco Bell is now serving all your favorites in the Airport Mall Food Court at Terminal 1. Pei Wei Asian Diner, located on Concourse C near gate C2, is now open offering inspired flavors from five Asian cultures. La Tapenade Mediterranean Café, located on Concourse F near gate F6, is an all-day café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Fun stuff: More than 170 art pieces are on display at Terminal 1-Lindbergh Concourse C as part of the second annual MSP Airport Employee Art Exhibit,


For example, furniture stores frequently offer that if you buy now, you don’t have to pay a thing for a year, and you might even get free delivery. This sort of “push” marketing can make it harder for you to say no. “This is just one example of how stores coax in shoppers,” says Tyson. “Always remember that free financing for, say, a year is not a huge cost to the dealer, but it is a cost, and if you forgo it, you should be able to negotiate a lower purchase price. Retailers find that buyers are less likely to negotiate the price if they are getting a shortterm financing break. Read the fine print on any deal you are considering taking before you go to the store to make the purchase. It can be even harder to say no once you get to the store, so you’ll want to know what you are in for before you get there.”


Leave the plastic at home. Many of us can explain away spending so much on gifts because we simply charge everything and reason that we can pay it off gradually after the holidays. This is a great way to create a never-


ending cycle of consumer debt for yourself. It only creates unnecessary financial stress for you after the holidays. “Use your budget to figure out how you can purchase the gifts you want to purchase without putting them on your credit card,” says Tyson. “If you are so cash-strapped that you think it will be difficult to avoid charging gifts, then you may want to sit down with other friends and family and propose a limit on how much gifts can cost this year—or propose no adult gift exchanges at all. Far from being disappointed, it’s likely they’ll view this reprieve from gift-buying as a gift in its own right.”


Invest in your kids’ financial futures. It may not seem as exciting to your kids as a new iPod, but a contribution to their financial well-being will be appreciated long after such expensive “toys” are obsolete. “Have the grandparents contribute to a college tuition fund or savings account rather than buy them more stuff they don’t need,” suggests Tyson. “Or make one of your gifts to your kids a stock fund portfolio that can start accruing now. Also, make them aware of the budgets and tools you are using to keep your spending in check. The holidays are a great time for them to truly learn that money doesn’t grow on trees.”



Give the gift of time to your kids. Often, parents buy gifts for their kids with the best of intentions. Either you don’t want to deprive them of the toys and gadgets all of their friends have, or you want to give them the things you didn’t have as a kid. “Both of these tendencies are perfectly understandable, but I’ve found that parents who buy too much for their kids


often have difficulty changing the habit,” says Tyson. “The holiday season offers great opportunities for you to show your kids how much you love and care for them. For example, you can make time with them each week to watch a holiday film or TV show, go on a walk to see your neighbors’ holiday lights and decorations, or emphasize that giving back message again and take them caroling at a local retirement home. All of these activities cost next to nothing, and they will be fun for the kids and for you!” Remember that meaningful # gifts don’t necessarily have a big price tag. “Sure, it might be nice to give your mom a brand new TV, but there are other things out there that will be even more meaningful and enjoyable for her—like a photo album with candid shots of the grandkids or something they’ve made for her themselves,” says Tyson. “If you are looking to give a gift that truly means something and that will keep its value for years to come, you are better off looking for nonmaterial gifts to give than for something your gift recipients could get themselves at the local big box store.” “Money can easily become the focus of the holidays when it should be the last thing you are thinking about,” says Tyson. “By keeping your spending under control, you can have a great holiday and avoid the sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that occurs when you start getting those credit card bills in the mail. If you prepare properly, you can achieve a happy balance of spending and saving during the holiday season. That’s a great gift in and of itself, for both you and the people you love.”


Page 10 • November 28 - December 4, 2011 • Insight News


North Minneapolis Neighborhood beat... By Ivan B. Phifer Staff Writer Interested in Joining or Leading a Block Club in Hawthorne? Crime statistics go down drastically in the community when Hawthorne has active, responsible residents looking out for one another. There is training available to learn what to look for when monitoring the neighborhood, tips for staying safe, etc. Please call the Hawthorne Neighborhood Council at 612-529-6033. The Hawthorne Huddle hosts an annual celebration, 7:308:30am Thursday, December 1 at Farview Park 601 29th Ave. N. For more information: Sophi Winter 763 764-3413. Harrison The Harrison Neighborhood Association will host a housing and committee meeting 6:307:30pm Thursday December 1st

at the HNA office 503 Irving Ave. N. HNA will also hold a board meeting 7-8pm Monday, December 12 at 503 Irving Ave. N. For more information: Larry Hiscock, 612 374-4849. Jordan The Jordan Area Community Council will hold a housing and committee meeting 6:308pn Tuesday December 13 at Plymouth Christian Youth Center 2210 Oliver Ave. N. JACC will also have a board meeting 6:30-8:30pm Wednesday December 14 at the JACC office 2009 James Ave. N. Loan Program LBNA has partnered with the Center for Energy and Environment to administer home improvement programs. LBNA loans create opportunities for more home loans and other neighborhood activities. The loan has a 4% fixed rate financing,

Classifieds/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: Andrew Notsch. Free or low cost events preferred.

Events Register NOW for Winter Term at Camden Music School Looking for a place to play? Join us for winter term at Camden Music School Jan. 9-Mar. 17. All ages, abilities and experience

levels welcome. CMS offers vocal and instrumental lessons, Musikgarten early childhood music classes (newborn to age 8), ensembles, music theory, songwriting and more! Scholarships and family discounts are available. Scholarship application deadline: 12noon, Tue., Jan. 3. Classes in Camden: Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 3751 Sheridan Ave. N., 55412. CMS in Northeast Minneapolis: Grace Center for Community Life (formerly Holland School), 1500 6th St. NE, 55413. More information: 612-618-0219 or www.

Community Organizers Wanted!!

God’s Power..Your Potential! - Nov 27-30

$15,000 maximum loan with no maximum income limit. Eligible improvements include: most interior and exterior maintenance and remodeling. For more information: Amy Lusenbrink 763-561-1616 or Minneapolis Park Board The proposed 2012 Minneapolis Park Board budget focuses on neighborhood parks, parkways, financial sustainability and service delivery. Public comment opportunities are scheduled for November 22 and December 14. For more information, Amy Lusenbrink 763-561-1616 or Get Paid Helping Northside Seniors & Disabled Adults The Community Emergency Assistance Program (CEAP) and the Neighborhood Involvement Program (NIP) serve North Minneapolis as two senior chore service agencies. CEAP serves seniors north of 44th Ave. N. and NIP serves seniors south of 44th

PHONE: 612.588.1313 A revival featuring Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright. Dr. Wright is one of the most known and sought after speakers in the nation. November 27-30. Sun. 8am&11am. Mon-Wed 7pm. Progressive Baptist Church 1505 Burns Ave St. Paul 651774-5503 Rev Dr. Earl F. Miller Sr. Pastor. Nutrition Update: Exploring Foods from Different Cultures - Nov 28 People living with Type 2 Diabetes will enjoy a dialogue with speaker Gail Radosevich, RD, CDE who will help us all navigate our way through cultural foods, hidden fats and matching insulin. Please bring any interesting menus or food

Working America / AFL-CIO is hiring full time staff to take our country back from the political forces that favor the wealthy and corporate special interests over your well-being! Diversity is highly valued at Working America: Women, people of color, and LGBT applicants strongly encouraged to apply. $457.60 week base pay - Entry Level. Fun work environment. EOE. Rapid advancement opportunities. - Apply Now: 612-331-5800

Communications Specialist The City of Brooklyn Park is seeking applicants for a parttime, temporary Communications Specialist to provide administrative support and assistance to the Communications Coordinator with internal and external communications and marketing in the City of Brooklyn Park. Responsibilities include being the city’s webmaster and intranet coordinator, editor of the city’s employee newsletter, media relations assistant and feature writer for city publications. Duties also include being one of the city’s top cheerleaders! Flexible 20 hours/ week; $11.00/hour. City and supplemental application forms, writing exam and job posting with additional information and required qualifications available on city web site or address below. Closing date: 5 p.m., Friday, December 2, 2011.

Ave. N. Both agencies have opportunities for individuals to earn $15 an hour doing snow removal and responsibilities as independent contractors. Both programs require individuals to be 18 or older and go through a criminal background check. Participants must also have their own shovel, or snow blower and provide own transportation to job sites. For more information: Jon Burkhow at 612-374-3322. Camden The Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization will host a Camden Celebration 6-9pm Friday December 2. Indoor and outdoor activities along 44th Ave. N. from Newton to Thomas Ave. N. Pony rides, hay rides, face painting & clowns. For more information: Roberta Englund 612-521-2100. North United Methodist Church (NUMC) has a Church Clothes Closet 9am-Noon the first Saturday of each month and 6-8 pm the first Monday of each month at 4350 Fremont Ave.

FAX: 612.588.2031 labels you come across. This is a FREE event. It is presented by HealthEast Foundation and sponsored by Novo Nordisk. Mon., Nov. 28 6-7:30pm @ Woodwinds Hospital, Conference Room A (1925 Woodwinds Drive, Woodbury, MN 55125). Questions: call Diane at 651-232-6322 or email @: Energy Clinic - Nov 29-30 Free two day Energy Clinic for income eligible Senior Citizens who live in Mpls. Tue., Nov. 29 and Wed., Nov. 30 10am-4pm on both days at the Minneapolis Urban League - Sharon Sayles Belton Center located at 411 East 38th St. Mpls. Seniors will be able to fill out an Energy Assistance Application, meet with CAMPLS Energy Assistance Representatives to address crisis energy connection needs, get free Energy Conservation resources and supplies, and learn more about Programs and Services made available to community members by Community Action of Minneapolis. For more information about the Energy Assistance Program, please call 612.335.5837 or visit our website at Presentation and discussion about They Played for the Love of the Game - Nov 30 Adding to the Legacy of Minnesota Black Baseball Exhibit with curator, Frank White. Wed., Nov. 30 - 7pm. At Rondo Community Outreach Library, 461 N. Dale St., St. Paul, 651-266-7400.

City of Brooklyn Park 5200 - 85th Avenue North Brooklyn Park, MN 55443 Phone: 763-424-8000 Fax: 763-493-8391 Equal Opportunity Employer

N. Donations are accepted. For further information: 612-5224497. Weight loss classes Weight loss classes for Black men take place every Friday from 6:30-8:30pm at Kwanzaa Church 2200 Emerson Ave. N. The class is a 12-week course for Black men who live with obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure and hypertension. The cost ranges from $100 to $300 depending on training materials. Space is limited to the first 10 qualified participants. For more information: Kwasi Nate Russell 612-359-0077 or Kwasinate. Volunteer opportunities The Target Meals for Minds program, in collaboration with Second Harvest Heartland will have volunteering opportunities to end the fight of hunger in North Minneapolis. A mobile food pantry will open once per month at Nellie Stone Johnson Elementary 807 24TH Ave.

N. The distribution dates are 5-7:30 Thursday, December 15, 5-7:30pm Thursday January 26 and 5-7:30pm Wednesday February 15. For more information: Kris Jensen, Volunteer Coordinator 651-2162761 or visit volunteer North Minneapolis Tornado Recovery Sites are available for mental and emotional recovery for victims traumatized by the May 22nd North Minneapolis tornado. To schedule an appointment with a health care provider, three sites are available; Northpoint Health & Wellness Center 1313 Penn Ave. N. 612 543-2566, Hennepin County Mental Health Center 1801 Nicollet Ave. S. 612-596-9438 or Hennepin County Medical Center Acute Psychiatric Services 701 Park Ave. S. 612-873-3161. Crisis response teams are available 24/7. For adults, 612-596-1223 or 612-348-2233.

EMAIL: Minnesota Gynecology & Aesthetics Clinic Grand Opening - Dec 1 Drs. Lisa Ohman Erhard and Stacy Noyes, both boardcertified gynecologists, are pleased to announce the grand opening of their new clinic, Minnesota Gynecology & Aesthetics (MNGA), Dec. 1, from 4-8pm at 1421 Wayzata Blvd, Suite 200, Wayzata, MN, 55391, 952-473-6642. Art at Ramset - Dec. 3 A Juried Holiday Art Fair of quality fine crafts and fine art, is sponsored by Highland/ Macalester/Groveland Community Education in cooperation with Artists’ Circle, a non-profit art organization promoting fine crafts. This is the art fair’s sixteenth anniversary show. FREE. Sat. Dec. 3, 10am5pm. Ramsey Junior High Gymnasiums and Cafeteria, 1700 Summit Ave., St. Paul. For online info, including list of juried artists: http://www. 7th Annual Camden Music School Holiday Sing-Along, Craft and Bake Sale - Dec. 10 A simply delightful, neighborly way to celebrate the season! Proceeds from the craft and bake sale go to the CMS Scholarship Fund, a sponsored project of Our Neighborhood Works, www. 4pm, Sat., Dec. 10 @ CMS/ Camden: Luther Memorial, 3751 Sheridan Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN. 55412 FREE. For more information: 612-618-0219 or www. North Minneapolis Families, Friends and Neighbors - Dec 13 Your voices, Your passion and Your ideas are needed. Please join us for an engaging conversation at the Community Listening Session Tue., Dec. 13, 6-7:30pm at UROC 2001 Plymouth Ave N. Minneapolis, MN. 55411(University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center) For more information contact Northway Community Trust 612-521-4500 or email Cynthia at: A Night for Aziz - Dec. 15 African Development Center of Minnesota presents AfroUniversal: A Night for Aziz. With an evening of music, art, food and stimulating conversation, we wish to honor Aziz through an exhibition devoted to his eclectic oil paintings and colorful terracotta sculptures on display. Thur. Dec. 15 5:30-8pm. ADC Art Gallery 1931 S. 5th St. Mpls. MN. 55454 Christmas Concert - Dec 18 Put the real meaning of the season into your Christmas in the restored historic sanctuary of St. Olaf Lutheran Church on Sun. Dec. 18, at 10:30am. A free will offering matched by the Northwest Chapter of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will be take to send youth to the National Lutheran Youth Gathering in New Orleans and there will be a Bake Sale afterward to repair the organ. St. Olaf is located at 2901 Emerson Ave. N. Mpls.

Coffee Break 6. Bag in French 9. SAT, e.g. THEME: ON THE GO 13. Positive electrode 14. Taxing job ACROSS 15. *_____-cross bicycling 1. Joanne Woodward’s 16. *Take one up or down character Eve had three STATEPOINT CROSSWORD

17. Mentally quick 18. Tapestry 19. *Usually illegal while driving 21. *Drive-_______ 23. One of Sinbad’s seven 24. Bluish green 25. London’s Big ___ 28. Musician’s time to shine 30. Large, colorful parrot 34. Bear’s hang-out 36. Pluribus 38. Policeman’s club in India 40. Sky bear 41. Receive, as in debt 43. Daytime drama 44. Helen in Russian 46. To mark for omission 47. Charlie “Bird” Parker’s sax 48. Parent’s demand 50. Cribbage pieces 52. Acid 53. Italian car maker 55. “For what ___ worth” 57. *It now often costs extra 61. *Share a ride 65. Boredom 66. Charlotte of “Facts of Life” fame 68. This bird gets the worm 69. Dangerous trick 70. Under the weather 71. Type of simple protein 72. Salad prep 73. Unagi

45. Up to date, French 49. Slob DOWN 51. Flow, as in video 1. *Type of food 54. Eagle’s nest 2. “Up the ____” 56. “Star Trek’s” final 3. Sweet talk frontier 4. Changes, as in written 57. For fear that word 58. To, archaic 5. 7-game ______ in 59. African migrants baseball playoffs 6. Slang for heroin 7. *Often free on smartphone 8. Like malicious remark 9. Novice 10. Very light brown 11. Ore smelting by-product 12. Comedy Central’s “____.O” 15. Relating to the body 20. Campbell or Watts 22. One looking for attention 24. Sometimes difficult to grasp 25. Down in the dumps 26. Between Marquess and Viscount, pl. 27. One born to Japanese immigrants 29. “____ ho!” 31. Home in Spanish 32. Coral reef island 33. “_____ up?” 35. Goes with rave 37. Christmastime 39. *Comes in nano and shuffle versions 42. Roman king’s abode 74. Same as mesotron

60. “The ____ of Navarone” 61. *Most are now smart 62. Scraps of meal 63. Dish of stewed meat 64. Country singersongwriter Loretta 67. Type of brew

Solutions Turn to 12

Insight News • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Page 11

BUSINESS Apply what you know: Job search strategies for salespeople Plan Your Career By Julie Desmond There’s an old saying, “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Fast forward to today, and that translates to Bill Gates’ family not owning a computer, or Peyton Manning not owning a football. Sometimes during a job search, people are so focused on their profession that they lose sight of their skills. Sales people seem consistently guilty of forgetting how to do what they do best.

your goal is to make contacts. Identify the people you know who work at these target companies. Meet them. Over the holidays, let people you meet know you’ve always wondered about ABC company and wish you knew people who worked there. Eventually someone will know someone from that company, and you will be on your way to future introductions. Sales professionals know how to sell products. This time, the product is You. Prove your sales ability. Apply the skills you already have, make new contacts, and close the sale.

Sales people learn early to identify leads, make contact with decision makers and then convince them that this product exceeds all others in meeting the buyer’s need. And yet, sales people change positions frequently and often have a terrible time finding new work when they need it. What more is a job search than a sales project? Identify leads: make a list of companies who sell the product you are used to selling, who compete against your current or former employer, or who are located near where you live. Put a copy of the list on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror and/or dash of your car. Keep a copy near your computer, too, so you can refer to it throughout the day. Your goal is not to find a job;

Julie Desmond is Talent Manager for Lake Region Staffing Company. Write to PhotoXpress

So much more than a credit score Personal Finance By Michelle Thornhill Special to the NNPA Early in my career, I remember sitting down with a family to help them prepare for buying a home. I asked them how their credit was, and the husband replied, “Our credit is very good. The creditors aren’t knocking on our door.” My first instinct was to laugh with him, until I realized that he was very serious. As I look back, I understand why he would be confused. Many of us are misinformed when it comes to credit. For starters, being in “good standing” with your lenders does

Travel From 9 co-sponsored by the National Arts Foundation and the MSP Arts and Culture Committee. A costumed character will read to children near the Red

not always indicate that you have good credit. What’s even more surprising, having a strong credit score doesn’t readily mean that you are desirable to lenders. Confusing? Let’s break it down. Your credit report is compiled by the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Each agency collects information to produce their own report –this is why you have three separate credit reports. In general, information in each credit report includes a listing of all credit accounts (past and present), inquiries (or requests for your credit report by third parties), payment history, as well as public record (name, addresses, employment history) and collection items. Your credit score is a numeric summary — calculated by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) — of your

credit report. Your credit score is not generated by lenders or financial institutions, however, they will use this information in determining if you are creditworthy. While credit scores are important, they don’t tell the full story. Lenders take a more holistic approach in determining if you are creditworthy that goes beyond just knowing your credit score. They consider how you’ve managed your finances and credit over time. For instance, your payment history might keep creditors from knocking on your door because you’ve consistently made payments on time. On the other hand, lenders will also look to things like debt- to-income ratio when making credit decisions. So while you may pay your bills on time, having high credit balances and other debts (in comparison to your income) can actually lead to

higher interest rates or declined credit, even with a strong credit score. Having multiple credit cards can be another misleading credit trap. Yes, a good credit score will likely get you another credit card, but do you actually need it? Even if you don’t use it right away, having the “extra credit” can be tempting and can also make you appear risky to lenders because of your potential to spend and create additional debt. Or, it can indicate that you are not as selective and cautious as you should be in making credit decisions. So a wallet -full of credit cards can actually reflect irresponsibility, rather than creditworthiness. One of the best approaches to establishing, maintaining or reestablishing good credit is to keep your debt low, regardless of your credit score. Be vigilant. Exercise sound personal financial

habits. Proactively pay down debt to keep your balances low. Study your credit and debts regularly, and take measured steps to repair them if necessary. Wells Fargo offers a variety of free, online tools that can help you on your journey toward creditworthiness and financial success. Among them is the Wells Fargo Smarter Credit Center, accessible at www.wellsfargo. com/smarter_credit/. Make it your practice to contact the three credit reporting agencies at least once a year. To request a free copy of your credit reports visit (the report is free, but you will have to pay a fee to see your actual credit score). Use these reports to monitor your credit and to develop a debt payment plan that fits into your budget. And remember, your credit score is not impacted when you request a copy of your credit

report. More important than a credit score is your peace of mind. Paying down debt not only positively impacts your credit score but also provides a sense of self-assurance and pride knowing that each day you are a step closer to financial independence. Stress related to finances is problematic to your social, emotional and physical well being. This is why it is important to confront debt head on to begin taking control over a very important part of your life. Yes, it’s OK to be proud of your good credit score, but don’t get caught up. Tackling debt is just as important.

Balloon Bookshop across from Gate C12 on Nov. 22 and 23 on the hour and half-hour between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Pick up an Eat, Shop, Relax coupon book for savings throughout the airport during November and December. Available at all directory kiosks and information booths.

Enjoy live musical performances, now through the end of the year, every Wednesday and Friday through a partnership with McNally Smith College of Music and the MSP Arts and Culture Program. There is usually ample parking capacity at both

terminals during the holidays. However, cost-conscious travelers can save $4 per day by parking in the MSP Value Parking ramp at Terminal 2-Humphrey. The ramp is directly adjacent to light rail, which people can ride free between MSP terminals. And if you are traveling

on Thanksgiving or simply have a hankering for a hot turkey meal, you’re in luck. Ike’s Food and Cocktails in the Airport Mall or Itasca Grille on Concourse A can satisfy your craving. For more information about airport amenities, including

full-service restaurant menus, airport accessibility and family services visit www. Also, MSP Airport customer service representatives are available 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day by calling 612-726-5555.

Michelle Thornhill is senior vice president, Diverse Segments for Wells Fargo & Company. Visit for more information.

Page 12 • November 28 - December 4, 4 2011 • Insight News JH: You have to be able to be involved with the political process, talk to your representative. We know up in District 46 of Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park area now a minority opportunity area. We have upwardly mobile people of color, including African Americans that are living all around the State. When there are political races that are won and lost on margins of less that one percent, maybe 50, 100 or 200 votes…that’s where people of color can weigh in and say “This is what we want.” The first way you do it is by voting.

The second way you do it is you start to follow this process. You start to get involved and you see that the group that is in charge now and that is pushing the issues is the Tea Party and Ultra Conservatives. They are a sect of the Republican Party. They are a very small and fringe group but what they have done successfully is mobilize in lock-step with each other. They are showing us that a small group of people can mobilize, come up with a platform and move that platform forward because so many people don’t get involved with the process.

Solutions From 10

State Senator Jeff Hayden being sworn in at the state capitol

Hayden From 3 community, and present to him a 10-point plan to create opportunities in communities like North Minneapolis. AM: And so as you look ahead Senator Hayden, what are going to be the hot items on your plate. And I raise the question because you have got a difficult situation in Minnesota where in the House you have been a part of the minority. You started off in the majority became part of the minority when the Republicans swept the House and the Senate last elections. JH: The first thing is to build relationships with people on my side of the aisle and then to try to develop relations with people on the other side of the aisle. I think that’s what Minnesotans want us to do. But with that being said, we also want to defend what is right.

We are not going to let the leadership in the Senate or in the Legislature kind of balance its budgets on the backs of the most vulnerable people, on the backs of folks that are just good hardworking, working class people. This idea that we are going to borrow money from our school system so that we can defend the rich is something we are going to fight. A big issue is this idea of writing discrimination into the Constitution. What I mean is there is an effort to amend to change the constitution to define marriages only with a man and a woman. For me, that’s writing discrimination into our supreme document, the Constitution. I am working very hard with a broad spectrum of people to not allow them to write discriminatory policy into the constitution. We also are anticipating they are going to offer a constitutional amendment for a photo ID requiring everyone that goes to the polls

to have a photo ID with their current address. Such a bill disproportionately hurts people of color, disproportionately hurts students, disproportionately hurts the elderly and disproportionately hurts poor people who may have to move from one place to another. AM: And it is commonly viewed as a method for voter suppression. JH: Yes, yes. Voter suppression and a poll tax is what I have been calling it. I consider these to be mean spirited initiatives that take our state backwards instead of forwards. I will be watching and fighting and making sure that our constituents, our people— your listening audience—really become engaged this year. We are going to need for them to come to the Capitol and to rally with us to show that very small group of fringe folks in the Legislature that that is not the way we want our state to look.

Office of State Senator Jeff Hayden

AM: Governor Mark Dayton recently appointed leaders of committees that lead to creation of Health Exchange. What’s the background, where do we go in terms of implementing Health Care Reform in Minnesota? JH: Well you know the law of the land is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the President’s healthcare plan to get more people to get healthcare. The Republican calling it Obama Care. I think that that is somewhat disrespectful, It is really not about him. It is a movement that says that we really need to get affordable, accessible healthcare in our country. AM: Senator Hayden, how then do we as community, as a Black community in particular, but as Minneapolis residents and voters ensure that the will of the public, that the voice of the people, that Black interests are included in this negotiation for the health strategy for the future?


Insight News ::: 11.28.11  

Insight News for the week of November 28, 2011. Insight News is the community journal for news, business and the arts serving the Minneapol...

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