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Minnesota Marriage Marathon: Love Is The Law

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Photo slide show for The UpTake by Judy Griesedieck

After years of struggle for the right to marry, Minnesota’s LGBTQ community partied down and tied the knot — all over the state — as the same-sex marriage law passed last spring took effect at 12:01a.m. on Aug. 1. The UpTake has covered every aspect of this story for years (see below). But here, you can just feast your eyes on the sights and sounds of the historic celebration that began Thursday as the freedom to marry finally has been extended to include all of us. Video for The UpTake by Bill Sorem

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Remembering With Pride: The St. Paul Red Caps Who Built Rondo

St Pauls Finest: The Red Caps in 1952 on the steps of the Union Depot

Cherished in St. Paul’s African-American community, the Red Caps had nearly been forgotten by the city at large, just as their contributions were overlooked during their life times. Now the Red Caps are being given the recognition they richly deserve. Continue Reading →

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Ernest Wabasha: The Burden of Minnesota’s History

Wabasha, Ernest

I was 30 years old, a journalist with a passing knowledge of Indian history. Yet it had never occurred to me, until I came across the name of Ernest Wabasha one day, that people still lived among us who were connected to the terrible events of 1862-63, the time of the so-called “Sioux Uprising” and the exile and banishment of the Dakota Sioux from their homeland. But there it was: The great-great grandson of Chief Wabasha was living on a reservation near Redwood Falls! I looked up Mr. Wabasha’s telephone number and called to ask if I — a complete stranger — might visit some day. “What are you doing this afternoon,” he asked. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota Gun Battle Breaks Out of Committee, Moves to House Floor

Battle Lines: Joe Olson, left, president of the MN Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, spars with Rep. Michael Paymar, D-St. Paul, chair of the House Public Safety Committee, after committee approval of a bill requiring background checks for gun buyers at gun shows. The battle over gun safety now moves to the full House.

A dramatically weakened gun-safety bill eked out a narrow escape from a Minnesota House committee Thursday, keeping the explosive issue of gun violence alive, ensuring that the Legislature will be asked to consider some tightening of Minnesota gun laws, and setting up contentious floor fights over the issue in the House in the weeks ahead. After two months of debate, the House Public Safety Committee, chaired by Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, passed a bill including a softened requirement for background checks on buyers at gun shows. The narrow approval, on mostly party lines, came on a 10-8 vote (one Democrat, John Ward of Baxter, voted no), that presaged a contentious floor fight ahead. Rep. Tony Cornish, a gun-carrying Republican from Good Thunder, promised as much, telling Paymar after the vote to expect an all-out effort to defeat the bill. Continue Reading →

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Non-Removables: The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Welcomes You to St Paul (Again)

St Paul's Crowne Plaza Hotel. Click on the photo to see video of the announcement that the hotel is being bought by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Today, in an ironic reversal of fortune that would have been impossible to foresee just a few years ago, Minnesota’s native people again are warmly welcoming people to their homes on the Mississippi River — homes called The Crowne Plaza and DoubleTree Hotels. Continue Reading →

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Last Rites In Foreclosure Fight? Minnesota Senate Dems Block Hearing on Homeowners’ Bill of Rights

Prayers May Not Be Enough: Click on the photo to see video of activists pushing for Homeowners' Bill of Rights

This is not the way Minnesota housing rights activists thought it would turn out when Democrats regained control of the the State Legislature: Hopes for passing a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights to protect Minnesotans from needlessly losing their homes to foreclosure all but died Friday. A Homeowners’ Bill of Rights — similar to one that was adopted by California last year — would require automatic mediation between banks and homeowners facing foreclosure and prohibit the practice of “dual-tracking,” in which banks negotiate with homeowners while simultaneously moving them towards foreclosure, often without their knowledge. Activists have been hoping that the Legislature will adopt such protections to help end the foreclosure crisis but got a cold dose of political reality: Without banking industry approval, some Democrats in the Senate appear unwilling to support a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights. In a polite but tense, closed-door meeting between activists and staffers for the Democratic chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. James Metzen of South St. Paul, supporters of the proposal were told that it will not be given a hearing this session. Continue Reading →

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Gun Fight: Can Minnesota Have a Fair Gun Debate at Gunpoint?

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What if they gave a debate about guns in society and there were no guns in the room?

Minnesota may never know what that would look like.

Last week’s series of hearings in the Minnesota State Capitol on legislation to reduce gun violence had an unintended and unforeseen outcome: Guns in society wasn’t the most pressing issue. Guns in the Capitol was. Continue Reading →

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150 Years After America’s Largest Mass Execution: Minnesota and its Dakota Indians Still Search for Healing

Riders from the Dakota 38 Plus 2 Reconciliation Ride arrive in downtown Mankato on December 26, 2012, for a ceremony at Reconciliation Park to commemorate the execution of thirty-eight Dakota warriors on the day after Christmas in 1862. The ride left Lower Brule, South Dakota on December 10, and made fourteen stops along the 340 mile ride to Mankato.

A two-week journey from South Dakota ends in Mankato, Minnesota to mark the 150th anniversary of the largest execution in the United States where 38 Dakota (Sioux) Indian men were hanged for their involvement in the Dakota-US War of 1862. Continue Reading →

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The UpTake wins recognition, support from prestigious Freedom of the Press Foundation

Freedom of the Press Foundation-The UpTake Logos- 16X9

The UpTake has been selected by a prestigious new foundation promoting press freedom as one of the first four independent organizations to receive help crowd-funding journalism that brings transparency to government and demands accountability of those in power. Continue Reading →

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