Ed Day

    OPINION: Don’t let local elections go below the radar

    by , October, 2017
    ‘Metro State Votes’ banners have prominent placement on the St. Paul campus, on the skyway over E. 7th. St. Election Day is Nov. 7.

    The list of issues that affect our day-​to-​day lives goes on and on: body cam­eras on police offi­cers; well-​maintained roads; bike lanes; fair and afford­able hous­ing; prop­erty taxes; parks and libraries; garbage col­lec­tion; good schools; and the fight over the $15 min­i­mum wage.

    Unfor­tu­nately, with the global impact of last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion still being dis­cussed, local offi­cials tend to get short shrift — but they shouldn’t.

    Reg­is­ter to vote

    If you have never voted or have moved since you last voted, you need to register.

    Help oth­ers get to the polls

    You can make a dif­fer­ence by remind­ing a friend about Elec­tion Day, dri­ving some­one to the polling place, or vouch­ing (ver­i­fy­ing res­i­dency) for a neigh­bor in your precinct so they can vote.

    Early vot­ing makes it easy

    As of Sept. 22, Min­nesota res­i­dents can cast their votes in per­son at their county elec­tion office (though some cities might have more loca­tions). To find out where, visit the Sec­re­tary of State web­site. (Note: If you are not already reg­is­tered, you will need to bring a proof of residence).

    You can also vote early by mail. For more infor­ma­tion, see the Sec­re­tary of State web­site.

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    Student Loan Debt is a Symptom of a Flawed Funding System

    by , June, 2016

    Yep, the debate over col­lege fund­ing has devolved into this: bick­er­ing over slightly reduc­ing the inter­est rates of stu­dent loans. In Feb­ru­ary, Min­nesota Sen­a­tors Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken were among the law­mak­ers on Capi­tol Hill try­ing to make things mar­gin­ally eas­ier by allow­ing col­lege stu­dents to refi­nance their stu­dent loans at a slightly lower inter­est rate.

    Accord­ing to Sam Brodey, the D.C. cor­re­spon­dent for Min­npost, the aver­age Min­nesota grad­u­ate has $31,000 in loans to pay off. Over a typ­i­cal 10-​year-​payment sched­ule, the inter­est alone would total $7,200. The pro­posal on the table is to lower the inter­est on stu­dent loans from 4.29 to 3.86 per­cent. This would save a Min­nesota grad­u­ate $720 over those 10 years.

    This mod­est attempt to move back the dial, which is a long way off from Bernie Sanders’s call for free higher edu­ca­tion, was met with fierce resis­tance from Repub­li­cans and con­ser­v­a­tive think tanks. Their rea­sons are shock­ingly asi­nine. Per Brodey, many con­ser­v­a­tives view the pro­posal as an election-​year stunt designed to gin up anger and moti­vate young peo­ple to vote.

    John Kline, MN-​CD 2, the retir­ing Repub­li­can who chairs the House Com­mit­tee on Edu­ca­tion and the Work­force has well-​documented ties to for-​profit higher edu­ca­tion indus­try, sat on the fence and said a bal­ance help­ing stu­dents and not bur­den­ing taxpayers.

    Andrew Kelly of the Amer­i­can Enter­prise Insti­tute basi­cally said relief to stu­dents was too lit­tle to make a dif­fer­ence and that the pro­posal is flawed because rich peo­ple will also ben­e­fit, accord­ing to Brodey’s arti­cle (which I am sum­ma­riz­ing in the most caus­tic fash­ion pos­si­ble). Funny thing is this: These are the same argu­ments Repub­li­cans and con­ser­v­a­tives have used for decades when they sup­ported defund­ing col­leges in the first place.

    First, min­i­miza­tion. The tuition increases were always framed in terms of beer money, con­doms, lattes, Flappy Bird, dat­ing apps or what­ever else made col­lege stu­dents sound like petty jerks at the time.

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    Metropolitan State cohosts conservation conference with Trout Unlimited

    by , May, 2016
    Student Mariah Flohr poses with her science display.

    Rais­ing trout eggs over the course of a school year sounds like a nar­row niche — and it is — but it also requires a keen explo­ration of water­shed edu­ca­tion and habitats.

    In turn, water­shed preser­va­tion really means being a good stew­ard of the over­all envi­ron­ment, said John Lenczewski, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Min­nesota chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited, which spon­sored the Min­nesota Youth Trout Sum­mit on April 15.

    About 400 ele­men­tary, mid­dle school, and high school stu­dents from nine schools descended upon Met­ro­pol­i­tan State’s Saint Paul Cam­pus for the event. Through­out the day they attended sem­i­nars from envi­ron­men­tal pro­fes­sion­als, includ­ing the Rap­tor Cen­ter, the Min­nesota Depart­ment of Nat­ural Resources, the U.S. For­est Ser­vice, Wilder­ness Inquiry, local mete­o­rol­o­gist Sam Ryan, and Met­ro­pol­i­tan State pro­fes­sor Kate Edelman.

    The inter­con­nect­ed­ness of the envi­ron­ment was high­lighted in a pre­sen­ta­tion by Jen­nifer Tee­gar­den, DNR forestry out­reach spe­cial­ist. An inter­ac­tive exer­cise prompted stu­dents from Rock­ford Mid­dle School to iden­tify some unlikely prod­ucts that include wood (like some cheese!) and the nuanced impact of trees on every­day life. Trees pro­tect the habi­tat for fish by pro­vid­ing buffer zones that absorb pol­lu­tants on shore and shade to cool the water. Lesser-​known qual­i­ties include the fact that trees have been proven to reduce stress in humans.

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    Science Education Center grand opening draws a crowd

    by , May, 2016
    Organic chemistry student Michael Chhoun describes the equipment in the new science lab to visitor Mark Larson, a Metropolitan State alumnus, during the walking tour that was part of the April 12 grand opening at the Science Education Center. Biology students Hnubqub Vang and Lorraine Onchiri partake in an experiment about intermolecular forces. "It's our first time making slime," Vang said.

    The new Sci­ence Edu­ca­tion Center’s grand open­ing drew a crowd, includ­ing for­mer Met­ro­pol­i­tan State pres­i­dent Susan Ham­mer­smith and her hus­band Allyn, two huge advo­cates for the facility.

    But for some, the real show stop­pers took place in the class­rooms and labs, which will allow the uni­ver­sity to diver­sify its pro­gram­ming to accom­mo­date more for applied sci­ence, health-​care stu­dents and prospec­tive K-​12 sci­ence teachers.

    Pro­fes­sors and stu­dent researchers were on hand dur­ing the self-​guided walk­ing tour of the new digs to explain the impor­tance of the new equip­ment and space. This includes 6,000 square feet of class­room space, the sci­ence and math tutor­ing cen­ter, and 19,500 square feet for labs.

    Biol­ogy and anatomy stu­dents can now use a 3D pro­jec­tion to learn about phys­i­ol­ogy. The vir­tual dis­sec­tions not only reduce the num­ber of ani­mals uti­lized, but are in some ways superior.

    The 3D tech­nol­ogy allows stu­dents to see how organs in action and respond­ing to dif­fer­ent stim­uli, such as epi­neph­rine. “You can see the heart beat­ing,” Harley said.

    It also allows stu­dents to com­pare the phys­i­ol­ogy of dif­fer­ent species at the same time.

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    Spending money may be the fiscally responsible option

    by , May, 2016

    Fis­cal respon­si­bil­ity and pro­tect­ing the tax­payer are two of the most com­mon phrases bandied about when­ever pub­lic money is involved. At face value the inten­tions are good, but it often results in choos­ing the cheap­est pos­si­ble option. But some­times spend­ing more money is the most respon­si­ble thing to do.

    Two exam­ples on the Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity cam­pus are the new fit­ness cen­ter in the New Stu­dent Cen­ter and the video-​editing lab in the base­ment of Founders Hall.

    The fit­ness cen­ter already has a good num­ber of users, even though it has yet to install all the equip­ment. Early reports indi­cate that usage surges in the morn­ing and dur­ing the lunch hour. Over­all, it is a great addi­tion to the campus.

    How­ever, to me, it’s quickly reach­ing capac­ity. To me, this is a case of fis­cal respon­si­bil­ity run amok at the state Capi­tol, whose mem­bers saved the tax­payer thou­sands of dol­lars by keep­ing it small.

    Not going big with this project was a missed oppor­tu­nity to bet­ter serve the pub­lic and to poten­tially make some money. A big­ger fit­ness cen­ter at Met­ro­pol­i­tan State could have even­tu­ally become a com­mu­nity asset. And while stu­dents might have dis­jointed enough sched­ules to go to the gym dur­ing a down time, the small size will likely ham­per rev­enue gar­nered from employee memberships.

    Unlike stu­dents, employ­ees are more apt to only use the fit­ness cen­ter in the morn­ing before work or dur­ing their lunch break. The fact that there is a good chance that all three tread­mills could be occu­pied at those times has likely dis­suaded some employ­ees from pur­chas­ing memberships.

    The video-​editing lab in Founders Hall is a dif­fer­ent story. While it’s filled with excel­lent com­put­ers equipped with great edit­ing soft­ware, it’s only avail­able to stu­dents for six measly hours a week — 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tues­day and Thurs­day. The ratio­nale I was given was that peo­ple only use the lab just before an assign­ment is due.

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    Health services coming to campus

    by , April, 2016

    Stu­dents will have another way to access health care start­ing Fall Semes­ter 2016.

    Fed­eral law requires uni­ver­si­ties to offer some form of health ser­vices to stu­dents. In order to com­ply with the law, Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity has cho­sen Fairview as its health ser­vice provider. Fairview’s pro­posal com­bines in-​person con­sul­ta­tions with telemed­i­cine, which an advi­sory com­mit­tee deemed to be most con­ve­nient for students.

    This model made the most sense from a logis­ti­cal per­spec­tive and a cost per­spec­tive,” said Her­bert King, dean of Stu­dents at Metro State. The lim­ited infra­struc­ture will help keep costs lower; stu­dents will pay a $2.50 fee per credit.

    A health care adviser from Fairview will be based on the St. Paul cam­pus and will serve as a pri­mary point of con­tact with stu­dents. This adviser, called a “Health Care Nav­i­ga­tor,” will be acces­si­ble in per­son or through the inter­net, King said.

    Stu­dents can con­sult the nav­i­ga­tor for infor­ma­tion about symp­toms such as back pain, flu, eczema, pre­ven­tive care, med­ica­tion refills and other pri­mary care types of ser­vices, King said.

    In a way, the ser­vice is a bit like an ini­tial office visit. The nav­i­ga­tor will show stu­dents how to access refer­rals and phar­ma­cies that are com­pat­i­ble with a student’s cur­rent health insurance.

    What we’re pay­ing for is basi­cally the copay,” King said.

    Spe­cific ser­vices are still being nego­ti­ated. How­ever, the plan is flex­i­ble and sub­ject to change at pre­scribed times to meet the needs and pref­er­ences of Metro State stu­dents, King said.

    The telemed­i­cine, which the nav­i­ga­tor can teach stu­dents to use, will allow stu­dents to go to a web­site and get a diag­no­sis. King said this is impor­tant for a school with mul­ti­ple campuses.

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    Phil Fuehrer applies personal journey to student development

    by , March, 2016

    As Soviet tanks loomed in the back­ground, the 300,000 dis­si­dents that filled Wences­las Square in Prague, Czecho­slo­va­kia began to jin­gle their keys in protest. Amid the tur­bu­lent sea of jan­gling metal, stood a vaca­tion­ing Min­nesotan named Philip Fuehrer.

    Few Amer­i­cans can say that their first big polit­i­cal protest was dur­ing the height of the Vel­vet Rev­o­lu­tion. In Novem­ber 1989, the demon­stra­tions resulted in a peace­ful tran­si­tion from a one-​party Com­mu­nist régime to a par­lia­men­tary form of government.

    It was just an elec­tric atmos­phere,” said Fuehrer, cur­rently the interim direc­tor of stu­dent pro­gram­ming at Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity. Fuehrer joined the Army right out of high school and at the time was sta­tioned in Ger­many as a Czech and Slo­vak lin­guist specialist.

    Stu­dent activism and pol­i­tics have been a part of Phil Fuehrer’s life ever since, even though his first cam­paign ended with less than spec­tac­u­lar results. Fuehrer received just 92 votes, 3 per­cent of the total cast, in his attempt to become the stu­dent body pres­i­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota in 1992, set­ting the record for the fewest votes.

    Hav­ing served four years in the mil­i­tary, Fuehrer stood out as a non­tra­di­tional stu­dent by appear­ance and life expe­ri­ence; stu­dents in their mid-​twenties on col­lege cam­puses were not entirely nor­mal at that time.

    After earn­ing a degree in Euro­pean Area Stud­ies, he ran for state rep­re­sen­ta­tive in 1996 and became the first Inde­pen­dence Party can­di­date to receive the endorse­ment of a major media out­let, the Pio­neer Press. Still, Fuehrer fin­ished with only 6 per­cent of the vote. He also ran for a seat on the St. Paul City Coun­cil in 1997 and 1999. He did not win either time.

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    Six Degrees of Separation: An MCTC, Metro Collaboration

    by , February, 2016

    You don’t have to know who Sid­ney Poitier is to real­ize that the issues of inclu­sion and exclu­sion, and class and race in “Six Degrees of Sep­a­ra­tion” remain rel­e­vant today.

    The play, which pre­miered in 1990, is about a charm­ing young con man named Paul who worms his way into the lives of a wealthy New York cou­ple, Ouisa and Flan, by telling a con­vinc­ing sob story and claim­ing to be the son of the famous actor Poitier. But as clues about Paul’s true iden­tity unfold, the foibles of upper-​class soci­ety — the greed, self-​importance and insu­lar nature — are exposed as the cou­ple tries to rec­on­cile the new infor­ma­tion with their ini­tial impression.

    Paul is accepted because he is witty and artic­u­late and dresses smartly,” said direc­tor Gail Smog­ard, who is also direc­tor of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan The­ater Pro­gram, adding that the hint of celebrity also ele­vated Paul’s sta­tus in their minds.

    Anna Vogt, a Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity stu­dent who plays Eliz­a­beth, sug­gests that another soci­etal nuance entered the equa­tion. The con man’s tar­gets are “quick to believe him because they don’t want to appear racist.”

    The racial com­po­nent weighed more heav­ily dur­ing the plays orig­i­nal run and is one rea­son the per­for­mances take place dur­ing Black His­tory Month. (The play is sched­uled to run Feb. 17 to Feb. 20). How­ever, Smog­ard thinks that today, the play is more about class.

    We’re all excluded from some aspects of soci­ety,” Smog­ard said, not­ing social sig­ni­fiers such as edu­ca­tion level, reli­gion, race and birth­place play a big role in first impres­sions that can define one’s role in life. “But it doesn’t make you any less capa­ble,” said Smogard.

    In today’s hyper-​connected world of smart­phones and social media, Paul’s gam­bit would fall apart pretty quickly. How­ever, the last­ing themes and strong char­ac­ters ensure that the impact of “Six Degrees of Sep­a­ra­tion” is not lost.

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    Metro’s psychology research colloquium provides a training ground for inquisitive students

    by , February, 2016
    Katelyn Schwieters and Megan Siedschlag. A brain waits to be studied in the Psychology Lab.

    Turn­ing every­day ques­tions into note­wor­thy research seems far-​fetched, but not for those in the field of psy­chol­ogy, which, broadly speak­ing, is the study of peo­ple and their behavior.

    So that’s exactly what Megan Sied­schlag and Kate­lyn Schwi­eters, stu­dents in Met­ro­pol­i­tan State University’s applied psy­chol­ogy master’s pro­gram did when they pre­sented their research at a national con­fer­ence in late Jan­u­ary. Their pro­pos­als for the Soci­ety of Per­son­al­ity and Social Psy­chol­ogy (the SPSP) were reviewed and accepted.

    Sied­schlag and Schwi­eters are in the University’s applied social psy­chol­ogy master’s pro­gram. While both majored in psy­chol­ogy as under­grad­u­ates, the focus of Met­ro­pol­i­tan State’s pro­gram has been an eye-​opening experience.

    It’s totally rocked my world,” Schwi­eters said. “The progress I’ve made here is enormous.”

    For Sied­schlag, who earned her bachelor’s here, being a con­fed­er­ate in an exper­i­ment using human sub­jects as an under­grad­u­ate research assis­tant, pro­vided the wow fac­tor to the topic.

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    Mounds Theatre: A Community Mainstay

    by , December, 2015
    The Mound's Theatre has a working 35mm projector. A flier for one of the theatre’s events, Radio Fear.

    Where can you reg­u­larly see family-​friendly wrestling, local come­di­ans, bur­lesque shows, a psy­chobilly con­cert, live radio shows and “A Klin­gon Christ­mas Carol”? The Mounds The­atre in the heart of Dayton’s Bluff, that’s where.

    Exec­u­tive direc­tor Jes­sica John­son often hears the com­ment “I didn’t even know this was here!” The the­ater is at 1029 Hud­son Road in Saint Paul, a loca­tion that makes it dif­fi­cult for peo­ple to stum­ble across. Once they find it how­ever, peo­ple tend to come back.

    Many per­form­ers have been involved with a vari­ety of pro­duc­tions over the years. John­son her­self was involved as a per­former, tech crew mem­ber and, later, the pro­ducer of bur­lesque shows for sev­eral years before becom­ing the exec­u­tive direc­tor in 2014.

    It’s really is a spe­cial place, with a great art deco vibe and loads of poten­tial. Hav­ing the flex­i­bil­ity to put on pro­duc­tions with both niche and wide range of appeal from Terry Pratchett’s ‘Dis­c­world’ to ‘Night of the Liv­ing Dead’ to assorted radio the­ater pro­duc­tions,” said Sal Cloak, a mem­ber of the Conun­drum Radio Col­lec­tive, which has been work­ing with the Mounds The­atre since 2007.

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    The Kinship Circle at the Gordon Parks Gallery: Celebrating Limits in an Ever-Expanding World

    by , December, 2015
    Artist Regula Russelle poses with her work. Spectators in the Gordon Parks Gallery.

    Pho­tos: File name: Ed– artist.jpg Credit: Cour­tesy of Cap­tion: File name: Ed-​art gallery.jpg Credit: Ed Day Caption:

    It’s okay to touch the art­work. In fact, Reg­ula Rus­selle prac­ti­cally insists. At the Nov. 12 open­ing of her exhibit “Kin­ship Cir­cle: An Explo­ration in Book Arts” in the Gor­don Parks Gallery at Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity, the artist repeat­edly encour­aged vis­i­tors to touch and pick up her pieces of art­work, to embrace the embrace­able in the here and now.

    Accord­ning to Rus­selle, touch­ing changes the way peo­ple expe­ri­ence art. Russelle’s works, which include short, hand-​pressed books and bowls made pri­mar­ily of cot­ton, are not as frag­ile and dis­tressed as they first appear.

    The books, printed on light card stock with chap­ters demar­cated by folds, incor­po­rate draw­ings, poetry and prose to tell a story. Russelle’s com­po­si­tion, “Every Morn­ing is an Entrance to a City” takes the shape of a pam­phlet and answers the ques­tion “How do we shape a day?” Images that com­ple­ment the text includes hand-​drawn musi­cal staffs and a cello.

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    SWSA Sponsors Culturally Diverse Food Drive

    by , November, 2015

    When many of us think of food dri­ves, we think of dusty cans of tomato paste, lima beans and pick­led her­ring along­side boxes of mac and cheese and some heav­ily salted pasta kits that are meant to “help” a vari­ety of meats.

    Social Work Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion (SWSA) pres­i­dent Basia Minta hopes to shake the stereo­type of food dri­ves that gather “processed Amer­i­can crap.” SWSA is spon­sor­ing a cul­tur­ally diverse food drive by encour­ag­ing peo­ple to step out of their own pantries and really think about what peo­ple eat.

    SWSA is ini­ti­at­ing this food drive in respect and in honor of our peers and friends with diverse back­grounds,” Minta said. “It doesn’t seem fair to expect our friends to eat cer­tain foods they are not famil­iar with or don’t like.”

    It is not sim­ply a mat­ter of per­sonal pref­er­ence. Accord­ing to said Sue Fust, coor­di­na­tor of the Stu­dent Par­ent Cen­ter, food secu­rity is a big issue at Met­ro­pol­i­tan State. “Many of our stu­dents, even if they have learned to eat and enjoy it when pre­pared by other, do not know how to cook Amer­i­can food at home,” Fust said.

    The def­i­n­i­tion of a “com­fort food” varies between the diverse eth­nic groups rep­re­sented at Metro State. For Native Amer­i­can, Asian, African and Latino stu­dents, com­fort foods could include wild rice, fish paste, dried dates, fufu flour, nopal­i­tos and masa.

    Another key dis­tinc­tion of this food drive is that stu­dents may donate per­ish­able foods such as meat. In fact, hunters may donate pheas­ant and deer meat that has been prop­erly pre­pared and pack­aged, Minta said. How­ever, per­ish­able foods may only be donated in per­son between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Food For Thought office.

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    East Side Freedom Library

    by , November, 2015
    Part of the Labor Mural in the basement of the East Side Freedom Library.

    After 30 years as an instruc­tor at Macalester Col­lege, Peter Rach­leff retired from teach­ing. But he didn’t want to retire from mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in his com­mu­nity. As a labor his­to­rian, Rach­leff believed that the East Side Free­dom Library (ESFL) in Saint Paul’s Payne-​Phalen neigh­bor­hood was a nat­ural place to invest his efforts.

    The dif­fer­ence between the ESFL and most other libraries is the focus; all books in the col­lec­tion are related to impor­tant issues such as labor, immi­gra­tion, race and social jus­tice. Although the top­ics are lim­ited, all gen­res will be accepted includ­ing non­fic­tion, poetry, fic­tion, plays and memoirs.

    The library is housed in what was the Arling­ton Hills Branch of the Saint Paul Pub­lic Library sys­tem, an appro­pri­ate loca­tion since the area itself illus­trates the ups and downs of working-​class neighborhoods.

    About 15,000 union­ized jobs dis­ap­peared when busi­nesses includ­ing Hamm’s Brew­ery, Amer­i­can Hoist and Der­rick, Whirlpool and 3M left Dayton’s Bluff in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The neigh­bor­hood changed as many res­i­dents moved away and those left behind felt aban­doned and bit­ter, Rach­leff said.

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    Urban Roots Stays Grounded in the East Side Community

    by , November, 2015
    In 2015, Urban Roots has worked with Pollinate MN to include beehives in their program, which includes maintaining a pollinator garden. Urban Roots has six gardens on the East Side of St. Paul. Urban Roots harvested 8,000 pounds of produce last year. Urban Roots has a garden on E. 7th Street, next to Swede Hollow Café.

    Photo cap­tion and credit: Photo file: Bee.jpg Cap­tion: In 2015, Urban Roots has worked with Pol­li­nate MN to include bee­hives in their pro­gram, which includes main­tain­ing a pol­li­na­tor gar­den. Credit: Kevin Miller Photo file: Flower 1.jpg Cap­tion: Urban Roots has six gar­dens on the East Side of St. Paul. Credit: Kevin Miller Photo file: Produce.jpg Cap­tion: Urban Root’s har­vested 8,000 pounds of pro­duce last year. Credit: Kevin Miller Photo file: Urban Roots Sign.jpg Cap­tion: Credit: Kevin Miller

    On the cor­ner of Third Street and Maria in Dayton’s Bluff, stu­dents from East Side High School plant a gar­den every sum­mer with an array of veg­eta­bles. This lot in an urban neigh­bor­hood has not always been used to pro­duce food, how­ever. It became avail­able for gar­den­ing because of an explosion.

    In July 1993, a fatal gas explo­sion dec­i­mated the area. The blast was pow­er­ful enough to toss a car across the street. A gro­cery store, book­store and four apart­ments were reduced to rub­ble. As smoke bil­lowed and flames shot out of the inferno, 70 fire­fight­ers worked tire­lessly to con­tain it. Two peo­ple died on the scene and seven sus­tained injuries, though most apart­ment res­i­dents were evac­u­ated in the 10 min­utes between the punc­tur­ing of the gas main and the explosion.

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    Proposed Light Rail Line in Swede Hollow: Getting to the Last Mile

    by , October, 2015

    Improv­ing tran­sit on Saint Paul’s East Side is gen­er­ally not a con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject. How­ever, a route being con­sid­ered for light rail tran­sit in the Rush Line Cor­ri­dor is draw­ing ques­tions from the Dayton’s Bluff com­mu­nity. The route in ques­tion would go through Swede Hol­low Park.

    The Rush Line will run about 40 miles from For­est Lake to Union Depot in down­town Saint Paul. Route options are pretty straight­for­ward north of Mary­land Avenue — either light rail or a ded­i­cated bus rapid tran­sit guide­way would be built along Inter­state 35E — but the var­i­ous options to con­nect to the down­town area are more complicated.

    The over­all pur­pose of the tran­sit cor­ri­dor, accord­ing to the Rush Line web­site, is to serve the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of tran­sit users. In par­tic­u­lar, it will serve those who depend on tran­sit such as the elderly and lower income per­sons, as well as those who choose a car-​free lifestyle, as grow­ing num­ber of mil­len­ni­als do.

    The main rea­son for oppos­ing a light rail line through Swede Hol­low is the fact that area res­i­dents have spent years trans­form­ing it into an urban oasis. “It’s been a com­mu­nity asset for quite some time,” said Tom Cook, spe­cial assis­tant for the pres­i­dent at Met­ro­pol­i­tan State Uni­ver­sity, in a Sept. 10 com­mu­nity meet­ing at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Saint Paul. Cook added that the oppo­si­tion to alter­ing Swede Hol­low has been “pretty robust.”

    Mike Rogers, a tran­sit project man­ager for the Ram­sey County Regional Rail­road Author­ity, who attended the meet­ing and has been gath­er­ing feed­back about the project, noted that the most fre­quent com­ments about the project have been con­cerns regard­ing whether it would avoid Swede Hollow.

    Rogers said that com­mu­nity feed­back is a fac­tor in the decision-​making process. Like many gov­ern­men­tal projects, the task force needs to pro­vide evi­dence for all options prior to mak­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion. Ele­va­tion issues could also be prob­lem­atic in Swede Hollow.

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