Minneapolis’ plan to move homeless draws pushback

Hiawatha Avenue homeless encampment
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Three months ago, the first tent sprang up along the narrow 1,000-foot strip of land just north of East Phillips Park, and at the moment 70 more sit amid an orderly array of sleeping bags, outhouses, police presence, and most any other amenity that makes a society a society.

Says Mukhtar Ibrahim in the Strib, “Two Minneapolis charter school leaders don’t want homeless people relocated to a vacant lot next door, setting up a political showdown as city officials scramble to clear a growing encampment along Hiawatha and Cedar avenues. The leaders of Aurora Charter School and Lincoln International High School have written to Mayor Jacob Frey to say they’re concerned that relocating the camp residents to a city-owned property at 2600 Minnehaha Ave. would expose students to drug use and crime.”

Brandt Williams at MPR reports, “A 14-month-old baby is back with his mother after a judge ruled last week that her child was unnecessarily taken from her and placed in foster care in May. Amanda Weber, 25, said Tuesday her son was traumatized by the four-month-long separation. Weber’s attorneys are calling for changes to state law to protect others from going through a similar ordeal. On May 21, Weber brought her then-10-month-old son Zayvion to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. She said the boy, previously treated for sleep apnea, had been coughing continuously. The boy was hospitalized overnight, but Weber left for Little Falls with her son the next morning before a doctor could perform a follow-up examination. A Child In Need of Protection or Services, or CHIPS petition was filed later after a nurse and social worker suspected Weber of medical neglect.”

KSTP-TV’s Eric Chaloux reports: “Medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota, but allowing recreational marijuana use for adults is an issue the candidates have been talking about on the campaign trail for Minnesota governor. A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll conducted earlier this month found 56 percent of registered voters said they would support legalization of recreational marijuana for residents over 21-years-old, while 35 percent said no, and 10 percent were not sure.”

For MPR Jiwon Choi writes, “Say Paw made her first-ever trip to a dentist in March. It was not an upbeat visit. A Karen refugee from Myanmar, Paw, 36, lost two front teeth in an accident 18 years ago. She had used only charcoal and salt to clean her teeth before coming to the United States in January. Chewing betel nuts for the past two years, a common practice back home, had worsened her oral hygiene problems. The dentist told her that all her teeth needed to be pulled. … It’s a story Minnesota refugee advocates say they hear all too often. Cultural practices, resettlement struggles and the challenge of finding dentists willing to take Medicaid make good oral hygiene extremely hard for many refugees.”

Patrick Coolican of the Strib says, “State Sen. Scott Newman drew the ire of the internet this week when he tweeted his opinion about Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a party 35 years ago. Newman, a Hutchinson Republican, tweeted Monday: ‘Even if true, teenagers! Frankly, I don’t believe her. Almost 40yrs and now she self righteously comes forward to save us from a dangerous sex offender. This type of allegation seriously jeopardizes women with a legitimate claim, for who will believe them.’ A bit more than 24 hours later, Newman drew more than 4,000 responses, mostly with mocking comments charging that he was excusing attempted rape.”

Says Jon Collins for MPR, “As the number of people dying of opioid overdoses continues to rise in Minnesota, the state has launched a website to help companies support employees who are struggling with opioid dependency. The state Department of Health and the Minnesota Business Partnership collaborated on an employer toolkit that launched Tuesday. The toolkit suggests five actions employers can take to address the opioid overdose crisis, including reducing stigma, disposing of old medication and helping employees find treatment options.”

The AP (via WCCO-TV) reports: “Protesters have conducted a water ceremony and blocked a bridge near Enbridge Energy‘s planned Line 3 replacement pipeline in northern Minnesota. An American Indian woman conducted the ceremony on the banks of the Mississippi River on Tuesday. Demonstrators also raised a tepee on the bridge south of Bemidji. There were no arrests, and the tepee is now down.”

Peter Cox from MPR writes: “The University of Minnesota will keep a popular university-run child care program open, after announcing earlier this year that it would close. The school announced Tuesday that it plans to keep the Child Development Center open. With an enrollment of about 140, the center serves the families of faculty, staff and graduate students. It would have closed less than a year from now — the university wanted to move its childhood development research program into the building that houses the daycare. That announcement was met with a lot of pushback, and the school relented, postponing making a decision about the closure.”

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