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2007 Collapse Of I-35W Minneapolis Bridge Gets “Retro” Examination

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The most recent effort by by Retro Report, a documentary news organization that tries to find out “What really happened,” “How did these events change us” and “What are the lingering consequences that may affect our society to this day,” is focused on a tragic story familiar to Minnesotans: The Aug. 1, 2007 collapse of the Interstate Hwy. 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, which killed 13 people, injured more than 100 and prompted a national discussion on the deteriorating condition of the country’s infrastructure. Continue Reading →

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Social Justice Activists Make Waves At Capitol on School, Homeless Issues

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The day of social activism began with a coalition of African-American and religious leaders calling for an end to school suspensions and police officers in schools; later, advocates for the homeless asked the legislature to pass a $100 million bonding bill to prevent homelessness. Continue Reading →

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Crying Wolf: Activists Demand End To Minnesota Wolf Hunt

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Hundreds of opponents of Minnesota’s wolf hunting season gathered at the State Capitol to lobby — and howl! — for a makeover in the state’s recent approach to management of the totemic animal that, for many, symbolizes wilderness in the state’s North Country. The day-long “Wolf Day” was organized by Howling For Wolves, a citizens’ group that supports passage of a law that would place a new moratorium on wolf hunting in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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“School-To-Prison Pipeline” Sparks Protest, School Walkout

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About sixty students from St. Paul’s Central High School walked out of their classes Wednesday (Feb. 26) as a statement against the “school-to-prison pipeline.” The students joined more than 100 protesters — many of them college students and other community members — who gathered outside the school before marching to the nearby St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church for a program-cum-protest. Continue Reading →

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Brother Ali Sings, Workers Rally To “Raise The Wage” In Minnesota

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Hundreds of people carried signs and wore “Raise the Wage” T-shirts in the State Capitol, dancing while Brother Ali sang and established a tone of jubilant expectation for a rally calling on Legislators to raise Minnesota’s minimum wage. Continue Reading →

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Controversial Education Maven Michelle Rhee Riles Up Minnesota

A Lightning Rod in the Battle Over Education Reform: Michelle Rhee

Controversial education expert Michelle Rhee, founder of Students First and former chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public school system, brought her combative education reform rhetoric to Minnesota last week, drawing a vocal protest from opponents and challenging state educators to alter teacher seniority systems that Rhee said contribute to the achievement gap between white students and students of color. Continue Reading →

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Hockey In The ‘Hood: The State Of Hockey Gets More Colorful

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Anyone angered by Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl TV commercial featuring a multi-language, multi-cultural version of “America The Beautiful” would be wise to avoid ice rinks in “The State of Hockey” these days. The face of Minnesota is changing, and so is the makeup of the young players learning the state’s beloved game. Continue Reading →

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Design for Public Good: An UpTake video wins praise from public design group

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An eight-minute video from The UpTake’s co-founder, Chuck Olsen, and his company, VidTiger, has won notice for its skillful emphasis on the connection between good design and the public good. The UpTake is not only proud, we want to be sure our audience notices Chuck’s “mini-doc” film about the building of the Nyanza Maternity Hospital in Rwanda. Continue Reading →

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New Members Take Seats On Minneapolis Council; Mayor Vows To End Racial Gaps

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A new era in Minneapolis and Minnesota politics began Monday (Jan. 6) as seven new City Council members — including the first Latina, the first Somali and the first Hmong-American to be elected to the 13-member body — were sworn in and new Mayor Betsy Hodges called for an end to the “gaps” between white people and people of color in the city. Continue Reading →

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Privacy Watch Dog: State Cops Are Tracking Your Cell Phone

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From UpTake contributor Rich Neumeister, at Open Secrets

Since 2005, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has paid nearly $750,000 for what they call a “cellular exploitative device.” After the state’s top cop agency got their new spy tool, the Hennepin County Sheriff had to get one, too. In 2010, Hennepin County got a similar evice for nearly $400,000. The BCA wants to keep you from knowing about these secret tools. They have pulled a shade of “total” secrecy, a blackout. Continue Reading →

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Workers: Keep The Fries; We Want That $15 Hourly Wage We Need To Live

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Story for The UpTake by Sheila Regan

On the heels of last week’s large Black Friday protests in the Twin Cities, demonstrations calling for better wages for fast-food workers were staged in three Minnesota cities Thursday: Protests demanding a living wage were held outside fast-food restaurants in Minneapolis, Lakeville and Cambridge as part of a nationwide effort called Fast Food Forward, a campaign which originated in New York City demanding that hourly wages be increased to $15 an hour. In Minneapolis, about 45 people gathered in front of the McDonalds and Burger King restaurants on Stinson Boulevard in Northeast Minneapolis. The local action, organized by SEIU and Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, lasted about 20 minutes in the sub-zero windchill. Organizers said that no workers left their jobs to strike in Minnesota, as was the case in some other states, but that the action here was meant to raise awareness of the issue of poverty wages. Anytrea Baker, a food service worker at Minneapolis Public Schools and a member of SEIU, said she came out to support her fellow food service workers. Continue Reading →

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Vikings, State, Dig Billion-Dollar Hole In Minneapolis

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Football fans, elected leaders and Vikings big shots assembled under a heated tent on Tuesday to celebrate the symbolic groundbreaking for a new Vikings stadium and the demolition of the old Metrodome. Pastries, coffee and ranks of gold-painted shovels and purple-horned hard hats were arrayed for the event, which was celebrated with a round of fireworks in the east parking lot of the Metrodome. The explosions may have been apt: Despite the festive celebration, the groundbreaking was carried out with an air of urgency: The $1 billion stadium, facing a host of political and financial problems, is still under the gun and the fake hole — the dignitaries used their shovels on a carefully arranged foot-deep pile of dirt that had been manicured above the cement parking surface, the black dirt surrounded by green swatches of indoor-outdoor carpeting giving the appearance of a freshly dug grave site — is not likely to be the end of things. (more…) Continue Reading →

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