Debate continues on what to do at Upper Harbor Terminal site

At the end of the year, the city-owned Upper Harbor Terminal will stop operating, ending an era that began when the site opened in 1968. The 48-acre industrial stretch on the west side of the Mississippi River between the Lowry and Camden bridges is destined for transformation in the coming years, but just what shape it will take remains up for discussion.

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Farming into the future: Hmong American Farm

“Farmers often work twelve-hour days,” Yao Yang explained. Having water available near the field is a big deal. That’s often not the case on rented fields, but it’s an important part of the Hmong American Farm. So are the simple washing sheds where they can prepare produce for market, and the cooler where produce can be stored until it’s picked up for delivery.

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Cars feel like the future

For you, what’s the most obvious sign that time is passing and has passed? Like when you look around at the average scene in your everyday environment, and you’re able to determine that it’s not the same as five years ago, or a decade ago, or twenty years ago? With one notable exception, I’d have to say that for me, it’s gotta be cars. Cars!

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Changing lives, one mom at a time

Deb Avenido’s 15-year-old client faced big problems. “She was homeless with her mom and her brother through her whole pregnancy. They would stay at a family shelter for a month – that’s as long as they could stay there. Then they’d go to a motel or to a friend, and then back to the shelter.”

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Airport workers call for $15-an-hour minimum wage

(Taken from video by University of Minnesota Labor Education Service)

Building on efforts by fast food workers and others to demand higher pay, workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport called on the Metropolitan Airports Commission to institute a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

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In the interest of whom?

September is the time I miss teaching the most. It is the time when hope reigns, or at least makes itself felt. It is the time when students vow to try harder, teachers bring summer ideas for their classrooms, stay until after their own family’s dinner hour to set up something new. Some years this feeling continues until June, with parents who help out, families who pitch in and a good principal. It will never be perfect. It will never be precise. Teaching is an art, learned the way all arts are learned through trial and error, instincts honed over time, and with practice. I have been reading Mike Rose’s book The Mind At Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker. I see similarities in our struggles as classroom teachers and aides with those who work in service professions: waiting tables, clerking in an office, serving as a receptionist, or delivering packages. In many ways teachers do all those things, and at times, do them simultaneously. In addition to organizing a classroom, we teach thirty to forty human beings, many times in five different classes each day. By the afternoon we have seen between one hundred and fifty to two hundred students. We have guided them to their desks, laughed with them while standing by their chairs as they devise a marvelous question, picked up books for them at the library, kept track of their work and participation. In some classrooms we play music to welcome them, in others we are at the door, shaking hands, commenting on new hairstyles, a great game the night before, a fine essay written for college admissions. After they have left we have sat at our desks grading papers.

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Poverty down nationally, Minnesota takes steps for further progress

New Census information released today gives a snapshot into the economic recovery’s reach in 2013. The good news is that the national poverty rate fell in 2013 for the first time since 2006, although there was no significant change in the number of people living in poverty.

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Transpo convo: George at the bus stop

“I love MTC!”George stands at a bus stop on University Avenue on a blustery, 50 degree day, finishing his cigarette. He had been shopping at Wal-Mart.

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Seward Cafe at 40

The Seward Café, which turns 40 years old some time this year, is a study in contradictions. Although it’s known for its longevity, laying claim to being both the oldest collectively-managed business in the Twin Cities and the oldest collectively-managed restaurant/-café in the U.S., its actual collectives seem to turn over completely about every seven years. Although the café has never been totally vegetarian (the principle is even enshrined in its charter), it has always remained a favorite among vegans and vegetarians. This is probably due to its great range of vegan baked goods and its adherence to an ethos of care with its veg customers by assuring careful separation in the kitchen and full disclosure of ingredients. And further, although it looks small and scruffy and like anything but a gourmet haven, some of its food items are nearly legendary in their greatness. And its amazing survival attests to its success with the public.

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More than 40 percent of Minnesota workers lack access to paid sick days

(Photo courtesy of California Labor Federation) Governor Jerry Brown recently signed state legislation to allow more than 6.5 million workers to earn paid sick days on the job.

Some 41% of Minnesota workers lack access to even a single day of earned sick time, a new report finds. Those who have the most difficulty taking time off from work when they are sick include low-income workers and those employed in food service and other jobs where they are in regular contact with the public.

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