March 2018: North Minneapolis at a glance

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Avenue Eatery is back on Broadway

Sammy’s Avenue Eatery (1101 W Broadway) is back in business after a four-month closure for renovations funded by The Episcopal Church of Minnesota, who now owns the building where the restaurant is located. The new space boasts a larger garage door opening and an improved seating area. The Eatery is currently hiring for baristas and kitchen staff. 

By Cirien Saadeh

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$10K given to food justice projects

Two North Minneapolis groups – The North Star: Urban Ploughshare Collective (UPC) and Future Food Processing (FFP) – have been granted $5K each by Northside Fresh's "Growing Northside Fund" for projects they say will expand and enhance food access in North Minneapolis. Both are focused on the growing season. The FFP group is led by Candis McKelvy and Beverly Stancile and will create an opportunity for local growers to preserve excess produce before it spoils, so it can still be sold and used.

The UPC, led by Project Sweetie Pie’s Michael Cheney and Youth Farm’s Marcus Kar, will purchase a tractor that will be used for urban farming needs throughout the metro area. The group intends to sell the tractor's services as well as offer employment opportunities with it. “I was pretty shocked by it. It’s something that we really need, and I had high hopes that we would get it, [but] when they called, I wasn’t expecting it,” said Kar.

“We can all work together, not in competition, but in collaboration, in partnership. Forming this collective will move us in that direction,” said Cheney.

“We hope this will speed up the growing process and growing season,” Kar added.

Northside Fresh, a community-based network, working to develop "a more self-reliant, just, and connected food system on the Northside," is sub-granting the dollars, which were originally given to Appetite For Change (AFC) by the United Way.  Eight groups responded to their RFP. A community review panel culled the number to four, and the community decided the two recipients through open-to-the-public online voting. About 350 votes were cast, a number that pleased Miah Ulysse who managed the process for AFC. “It reinforces the idea that people want to have that kind of power,” she said. Ulysse said this round of grants was viewed as a pilot. She hopes to release more RFPs for small and large grants in the future.

By Kenzie O'Keefe

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Snow emergencies cause confusion

Two back to back snow emergencies at the end of February led to many questions about where to park and complaints about driving conditions in the neighborhoods from community members. Ward Four City Council Member Phillipe Cunningam took to Facebook on Feb. 25 to address what he called "low-quality plowing and decreased driving safety throughout our neighborhoods." He said he shared his neighbors' "frustration" about the lack of towing and said the issue would be addressed moving forward. He also said the City would increase its multilingual communications on how to comply with Snow Emergency rules to avoid residents being ticketed and towed.

By Kenzie O'Keefe

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Soul Bowl set to open a permanent restaurant

After putting on three successful pop-up food events since November, Soul Bowl hopes to open a permanent restaurant in North Minneapolis by summertime.

Brittney and Gerard Klass, the husband and wife duo behind Soul Bowl, created their concept – fast casual, artfully presented soul food – less than a year ago. For under $6 bucks an item, customers are treated to an array of classic soul food items with modern twists and musical names: Lauryn Hill Lemon Pepper Mahi Mahi, Fantastia Fried Chicken, Beyonce Lemonade, Tamia Vegan Mac & Cheese, Red Bottoms cake (pictured on our cover) and much more.

On March 16 they plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign to take their dream to the next level and raise the funds needed to open a restaurant inside the Sunnyside Deli building at 1825 Glenwood Ave. N. “This is the old Milda’s. It’s been feeding people for over 25 years,” said Brittney.

In addition to donating to the Kickstarter when it launches and following Soul Bowl on social media, Brittney says there are a few ways community members can help support their new and extremely popular (judging by never-ending line of customers at each of their pop-ups) restaurant: "If you’re a believer, anybody that prays, we’ll take all prayers. When there is a pop-up, when we are open, come out and support and try our food. We love to commune; it’s open, diverse; we love the different kinds of people that come. I feel like it’s just home," she said. The campaign will begin and end with more pop-ups. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram at @soulbowlmn. Visit them online at www.soulbowlmn.com.

By Kenzie O'Keefe

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North Minneapolis to get a "gun shop"

There have been a lot of shootings in North Minneapolis, and the country, in the last several years. Local art gallery, Homewood Studios, is making a bold statement about the violence in their latest gallery show: Art Is My Weapon.

Following a gun buyback program in the community hosted by Pillsbury United Communities (which also owns North News) and the City of Minneapolis in 2016, artists were given the decommissioned guns to make art. The artists, who are both local and from other communities, took guns and created symbolic oeuvres; their meanings connect with the recent gun violence we’ve seen in America.

“There’s a lot of finger pointing and blaming but no coming together about how we can solve the problem,” said George Roberts, longtime North Minneapolis resident, retired North High teacher, and owner of Homewood Studios. Roberts said he wanted to host the show at Homewood because, “This gallery is meant to make you think and say what you feel about our community's problems.” 

Roberts understands that displaying guns in the community might upset people. "It was kind of spooky for us artists to have these decommissioned weapons in our studios while creating our work, so we can understand what thoughts might be coursing through someone’s mind upon seeing the show lit at night," he said. 

The show will display the gun pieces from March 1 to March 21 at Homewood Studios, 2400 Plymouth Ave N. Gallery hours are listed at www.homewoodstudios.org. Two community conversations on the subject of gun violence prevention will beheld in the gallery on March 13 at 7pm and March 20 at 3pm. 

By D'Angelo Raymond (North High student)

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Assisted living facility to close

North Oaks on Emerson, an assisted living facility at 2929 Emerson Ave. N, owned by the St. Olaf Residence, an ELCA-affiliated Minnesota nonprofit, was officially closed on Feb. 27, according to a press release from St. Olaf Residence President Dale Hulme. The 39 North Oaks residents, who include Hulme's brother in law, must be out by March 31 of this year. "We will continue to work with the bond trustee and St. Olaf Lutheran Church to ensure the best possible outcome for this community and to continue to try to hold accountable and gain restitution from those corporations and individuals whose actions resulted in this sad announcement today," wrote Hulme in the press release. Hulme said that the facility's closure comes as a result of a failed sale of the building next door and the sale of that skilled nursing facility's bed licenses. 

By Kenzie O'Keefe

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Cajun food to be served up in Theodore Wirth Park

The Loppet Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are currently constructing a new building in Theodore Wirth Park – “The Trailhead.” Set to open this summer, the facility will be an outdoor adventure hub, complete with a restaurant for refueling. Cajun Twist, the Trailhead’s just-announced restaurant partner, will serve red beans and rice, jambalaya, and more, along with beer and wine. In the summer months, seating will be available on an outdoor patio. “Having a permanent home for Cajun Twist is going to be a gamechanger. My team is thrilled for this opportunity to bring authentic New Orleans cuisine to North Minneapolis through this partnership,” said Teona Washington, founder and owner of Cajun Twist, in a recent Loppet Foundation press release. Learn more about the Trailhead at www.loppet.org/trailhead.

By Kenzie O'Keefe

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Ramen restaurant to replace Victory 44

The building that formerly housed Victory 44 (2201/2203 44th Ave N) has a new restaurant tenant. Chef Jason Dorweiler, owner of St. Paul’s Tori Ramen, is planning to open “Tori 44” on April 1, reports the City Pages. “We’re excited to produce a product that is completely house-made and to bring ourselves to North Minneapolis,” said Dorweiler. Half the site is planned to be used for the full-service restaurant and the other half will be used for noodle production.

By Cirien Saadeh

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Storyville project set to relaunch

Last year, the Northside Funders Group (NFG) began a video documentary project that positively profiles Northside leaders and organizations doing game-changing work in the North Minneapolis community. In doing so, NFG hopes to spark a narrative shift that “permeates the minds of our peer grantmakers, policy makers, educators, developers, and Twin Cities residents alike, to think deeper about their own perceptions, and get to know the Northside for themselves,” said Tammy Nolen, the organization’s communications coordinator. The first two episodes of “Storyville” featured New Rules, a creative coworking and event space on Lowry Ave. N, and Appetite for Change, a food justice nonprofit on W Broadway Ave.  Local filmmaker D.A. Bullock created these pieces. Ten more episodes, created by Free Truth (formerly Ubuntu Productions), will be released monthly this year, beginning this month. “The work has been reaffirming of the life, artistry, ideas, and joy of North Minneapolis.  Everything we knew to be true of the Northside is present in the community, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to share these stories,” said Adja Gildersleve, who, along with Ryan Stopera, make up Free Truth. Screenings of the documentaries in the community are planned for later this spring and at the end of the year. Follow the project at www.northsidestoryville.com and on Twitter at @NorthsideStoryville.

By Kenzie O'Keefe

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Nellie Stone students release album

K-5 students at Nellie Stone Johnson Elementary School announced the completion and release of a musical album on Feb. 2 in a showcase concert open to parents and families.  Over 500 students, as well as other community members, wrote, produced, and performed the album, which was done under the guidance of Kyle B. Rucker, founder of North Minneapolis-based Ruck B Music, and music teacher at Nellie Stone Johnson. The album costs $10 to buy online or at the school. All proceeds support Nellie Stone Johnson. 

By Cirien Saadeh

 

 

Kenzie O'Keefe