Insight News

Aug 01st


Healthy Changes in Store for Rondo Avenue Festival

“Imagine a community where a riot of warm colors, feelings and sounds with sight would make one from the rural portions of the South feel at home, or a person from Harlem or State Street feel at ease. Then call it Rondo.” That’s how Roy Wilkens, who grew up in the Rondo community, and later rose to prominence as head of the NAACP described his beloved neighborhood in 1927. And while the name of the community has changed, the sites, sounds and temperament of it remain essentially the same. And that’s one reason why for 27 years – and counting – the Rondo Avenue Festival continues to celebrate its legacy.

Over the years, the Rondo Avenue Festival has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to its yearly venues. This year’s theme “The Rondo Healthy Lifestyles 365” aims to re-frame Rondo to support the mindset that has become prevalent, not only in the Obama administration, the current federal health care bill, but in each of our collective mindsets. As a result, festival participants can become part of the “Rondo Healthy Lifestyles 365” generation by participating in several new events – and also those events that are tried and true – during the weekend of July 15-17th.

Old Highland creates neighborhood narrative

Old Highland creates neighborhood narrativeOld Highland, one of the first platted neighborhoods of Minneapolis, has taken on the challenge of telling its unique and diverse community story by narrating its development and evolution through time. The Old Highland Neighborhood Association has contracted with Tammy Lindberg to work with residents to collect neighborhood history and to document contributing properties. The ultimate goal is to use the social history and architectural documentation to update and expand the existing self-guided Walking Tour Guide of significant properties in the Old Highland neighborhood.

The updated Walking Tour Guide will be a great promotional tool for Old Highland. It will be used to 1) increase public awareness of the historic and architectural quality of the homes in Old Highland; 2) encourage and support neighborhood interest and efforts in maintaining, enhancing and restoring the architectural integrity of individual homes and streetscapes, and 3) promote and market the neighborhood to potential new home owners who value and appreciate great housing and the strong sense of community among people who live here.

From Candidate to Elected Official: How Does a Person Get to the Ballot and Elected to Office?

From Candidate to Elected Official:  How Does a Person Get to the Ballot and Elected to Office?Filing deadlines have passed, endorsement conventions are complete and we are getting ready for the statewide primary election on Tuesday, Aug, 10.   In this week’s column I will address the following questions:  How did the candidates get on the ballot?  What is the party nomination and how is that different from party endorsement? 

Minnesota has three major political parties, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) , the Republican Party (GOP), and the Independence Party (I).  Minnesota has one minor party, the Green Party.  All remaining political parties are, in fact, political committees. 

New Federal Program funded for the community to report non-compliant sex offenders

Sex Offender Registration Tips (SORT)

Parents For Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center (PFML/CVC) announced the expansion of their Sex Offender Registration Tips Program (SORT) to include communities in Minnesota.

The agency is now providing parents and community members across Minnesota two interactive resources, the agency Megan’s Law Helpline, (888) ASK-PFML, and their website ( to report registered sex offenders who are believed to be out of compliance with registration requirements, employment restrictions, conditions of probation or parole or who are in positions of trust where they have access to potential child victims.

Despite murder, film signals game change

Two events last week made indelible impressions on our perception of our neighborhood and our people. One was the tragic murder of a young man, who according to published reports, was a gentle fellow, whose presence enriched the lives of all who knew him. The other event was viewing the new Karate Kid movie starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, a coming of age tale produced by Jaden’s parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

The June 11 murder, the city's 22nd homicide of the year, was brazen and senseless. A shooter hid between two houses on Thomas Avenue in North Minneapolis and fired into a crowd of young men in the alley  across the street. The alley, between Plymouth Avenue and Farwell Place, separates Homewood Apartments, the twin buildings facing Thomas Avenue and Sheridan Avenue  with a commons courtyard between them and the residences on Farwell.

The Diaper Drive hosts first metro-wide diaper collection on Dad’s Day

To celebrate Dad’s day… and to help eliminate the diaper gap in the social services network, on Sunday, June 20 from 12 to 4 pm, volunteers with The Diaper Drive will collect donations at designated Rainbow Food Store locations across the metro area.

As a rising number of Minnesota families struggle to pay the rent and put food on the table, households with young children face the added burden of providing diapers, an often-overlooked expense that is not covered by food stamp or WIC (Women, Infant & Children) programs.

Low-income parents who are struggling to become financially independent cannot take advantage of free or subsidized childcare if they cannot afford to leave disposable diapers at childcare centers. Without access to daycare, parents are less able to attend work or school on a consistent basis. This in turn leads to increased economic instability and a continual cycle of poverty.

Juneteenth commemoration law recently signed into law

Juneteenth commemoration law recently signed into lawA bill calling for an official proclamation by the Governor to commemorate Juneteenth was recently signed into law by Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Authored by State Rep. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-58B) and by State Sen. Linda Higgins (DFL-58), the new law creates an opportunity for the governor to issue a proclamation recognizing the historical significance of Juneteenth.

“On a day when people of all races, nationalities and religions from across the country join hands to acknowledge a period in our history that continues to shape our society today, it’s fitting that the leader of our state weighs in to help us reflect, remember and continue to move forward in a positive way,” said Champion following the bill’s passage.

Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. Set for the third Saturday in June, it recognizes the public pronouncement of the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was read for the first time publicly in Texas. The announcement came two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and two months after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in April 1865.
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