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MN Blog Cabin Roundup 1/15

Preserving a relic of racism; what recycling looks like; characters from the not-so-new west; and the sunny side of winter.

The Lee House: Preserving a relic of racism

from by Scott Shaffer

There is a modest, white house at the corner of 46th Street East and Columbus Avenue South in Minneapolis’s Field neighborhood. The architecture of the 1923 home eludes classification — its low-pitched rooflines hint at the craftsman style, but the white exterior, columns, and pediment seem neoclassical. The house lacks the charming stone work and brick and stucco exteriors of quainter homes in south Minneapolis. Despite its architectural insignificance, the home it has immense value, and can connect us to an important story about our city’s past, which has ramifications for our present and future. In fact, it’s so valuable that in 2014, the National Park Service added the property to the National Register of Historic Places. (Here’s the application.)

The white house was built in what was at the time a predominantly white neighborhood. In 1927, the Field Neighborhood Association, wanting to protect the character of the neighborhood, asked homeowners to sign contracts promising that they would not sell their homes to non-white buyers. In June 1931, Arthur and Edith Lee moved into the home with their six-year-old daughter. Arthur was a World War I veteran and a U.S. Postal Service worker. The Lees were also black.

Ear plugs in: This is what recycling looks like

from News Day by Mary Turck

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It’s noisy in here. Crashing, clashing, grinding, headache-inducing noisy — and that’s with earplugs in. Not only earplugs: for this visit to Eureka’s Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), I’m also outfitted with a safety vest, plastic goggles, and protective hard hat. Watching a big, yellow front-end loader move across the floor toward us, I’m glad that I also have an earpiece and transmitter so I can follow the directions given by my guide, Lynn Hoffman, Eureka’s chief of community engagement.

Characters from the not so new west

from Wry Wing Politics by Brian Lambert

Over the recent holiday week I took a 2000-mile spin up from Phoenix around central Nevada and back, veering through Death Valley in hopes of shaking off the high plains chill. I had no explicit intention of feeling out Trumpist America. But I have an affinity for the truly unaffected, or at least the unconsciously unaffected, although that’s a bit of an oxymoron. Point being: Spend enough time around media and PR types and you develop an appreciation for people who say whatever is on their minds, cautious, delicate, socially-strategic parsing be damned.

Look on the sunny side of winter

from After Thought by Nancy Edmonds Hanson

Molly never moves livelier than on her return trips, prancing so high and so quickly that those frozen paws barely touch the earth. If the temps are warm enough for snowballs, she’ll burst back into the house with snowblobs crusted in her curls, flinging canine curses as she makes a bee line for her favorite blanket on the couch.

This winter, though, the dog is the only one at our address who’s permitted to complain. Russ and I are pursuing a serious scientific inquiry into the Scandinavian way of winter, namely this: If you appreciate these January days instead of whining, can you make the season sing?

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