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JULY/AUGUST 2017<br />

Inside…<br />

The Payday<br />

Lending Trap<br />

Exodus Lending<br />

offers escape — P. 2<br />

Frogtowners<br />

Are New Link<br />

to City Cops<br />

Howard, Lammers<br />

in outreach,<br />

prevention roles —<br />

P. 3<br />


A Neighbors' Deal with Drivers<br />

Who says the car has to come first?<br />

If you love going to public meetings and pondering transportation<br />

issues, the past month was great for you. There’s a sudden pile-up<br />

of local road, bridge and freeway projects under consideration.<br />

Everybody wants your opinion about everything.<br />

For example, you could have weighed in on the<br />

Dale Street bridge over I-94. The idea at the<br />

moment is to widen it considerably with bike<br />

lanes, broad sidewalks, and longer turn lanes,<br />

while adding amenities in the stretch north to<br />

University. That might include a wheelchairfriendly<br />

ramp on the east side, plus trees and<br />

benches. (Ramseycounty.us/residents/roadstransit/future-projects<br />

for details.)<br />

Then there’s the question of putting a lid over the<br />

freeway to reconnect the Frogtown/Rondo<br />

neighborhoods with Summit-U. The lid could<br />

resemble a broad park or garden, with gardens and<br />

pathways that might turn a freeway crossing into a<br />

pleasure rather than an ordeal. As unlikely as that<br />

sounds, it’s been done in other cities — among them Duluth, where<br />

a park forms a lid over I-35. (Details: reconnectrondo.org.)<br />

Then there’s the matter of I-94 itself. The aged freeway, built in the<br />

1 960s, is due for a major reconsideration and redo. As displaced<br />

Rondo residents will tell you, the freeway build-out didn’t go so<br />

well the first time around. The effort to make it better this time will<br />

demand an ability to not only meet the needs of the present, but<br />

take a guess at what the next 50 years will bring. Our ideas about<br />

getting around in 201 7 will unquestionably seem quaint in 2067.<br />

(Details: dot.state.mn.us/I-94minneapolis-stpaul)<br />

Welcome to the neighborhood.<br />

If the past 50 years of so of transportation planning have<br />

taught us anything, it's that the needs of commuters are not<br />

necessarily the needs of neighbors. Drivers want to get<br />

where they're going as fast as possible. Residents don’t want<br />

their neighborhood chopped up by roads<br />

that are unsafe to cross by anyone incapable<br />

of a sprint. They don’t want the sense that<br />

they are stranded on either side of an eightlane<br />

traffic trench. Yet that’s the world<br />

we’ve made.<br />

Here’s an idea that's simple but apparently<br />

radical given the way that Rondo and<br />

Frogtown have been hacked up to serve<br />

commuters' interests. This time around,<br />

balance the desires of residents and drivers.<br />

Remake Dale so that a sensible person<br />

might want to stroll along it. Slow traffic so<br />

a child might reasonably hope to cross Dale<br />

and survive. Remake I-94 with an<br />

awareness that human beings live along it,<br />

and deserve something better than an eyesore that brings<br />

with it the roar and stench of traffic. If as a result commuters<br />

are forced to slow down, wait, or consider mass transit, think<br />

of it as a compromise. We're here 24/7. Commuters pass<br />

through twice a day.<br />

The car has been king for the past 50 years. This is the<br />

moment to ask whether the next 50 years have to be the<br />

same.<br />

— Tony Schmitz<br />

Gun Violence:<br />

Tough Road<br />

to Solutions<br />

More questions than<br />

answers at a local<br />

forum — P. 4<br />

The Food<br />

Comes to You<br />

Mobile Market,<br />

Second Harvest add<br />

food options — P. 9<br />

Under New<br />

Management<br />

Change comes to<br />

the Nickel Joint<br />

— P. 6


A Path Out of the Payday Lending Trap<br />

Exodus Lending buys out loans, cuts interest costs to zero<br />

David Bayliss had a problem that will<br />

seem all too familiar to some<br />

Frogtowners. He had a decent job that<br />

paid the bills. Then he got laid off in<br />

November, 201 4.<br />

Unemployment payments lasted for six<br />

months. While it was a help, the amount<br />

didn’t match his previous income. He was<br />

falling behind on his bills, which were<br />

considerable. He had to cover rent, a car<br />

payment, support for his former wife and<br />

children, plus food and all the rest of life’s<br />

incidentals.<br />

He got behind on rent, behind on car<br />

payments, and was paying utilities<br />

intermittently. When he finally found<br />

another job in June of 201 5, his problems<br />

didn’t really end. His pay wasn’t enough<br />

to allow him to stay current on his bills,<br />

plus catch up with all that he owed.<br />

Bayliss’s next move was to do what 1 2<br />

million Americans do every year. He took<br />

out a payday loan.<br />

He knew it wasn’t the best move. But it<br />

was the only one he felt he had left. “You<br />

take out a payday loan because you<br />

absolutely need it,” he said. “You’re at a<br />

David Bayliss escaped the payday lending trap with help from Exodus Lending.<br />

point where you’re willing to sign up for<br />

anything. It’s the step right before being<br />

out on the street.”<br />

To get a payday loan, as too many<br />

Frogtown residents may already know,<br />

you need to have a job and a bank<br />

account. The loan limit is $350 at some<br />

shops, and $500 or more at others. You’ve<br />

got to pay the amount back in full on your<br />

next payday, plus fees and interest. On a<br />

$500 loan, the fees and interest can run to<br />

more than $33. If this were a conventional<br />

loan, the annual percentage rate (APR)<br />

would be 1 63 percent. But fees for<br />

smaller amounts are an even worse deal.<br />

Borrow just $200 and the annual<br />

percentage rate with interest and fees is<br />

365 percent.<br />

Bayliss took out his first payday loan via<br />

an online operation in August, 201 5.<br />

When it came due he didn’t have the<br />

money to pay it off. He did what many<br />

people do to satisfy his payday loan. He<br />

took out another payday loan to pay off<br />

the first one. Again he paid the fees and<br />

interest that added up, in his case, to an<br />

APR of 578 percent. For Bayliss, history<br />

repeated itself every two weeks, when his<br />

loan came due and he paid fees and<br />

interest to get another loan.<br />

He tried going to his bank for a small<br />

loan to close the gap, but quickly got an<br />

education in current banking practice.<br />

Most banks aren’t set up to provide small<br />

loans for living expenses. If you’ve had a<br />

bankruptcy in the past 1 0 years, which<br />

was the case for Bayliss, you’re way out<br />

of luck. The bank officer was<br />

sympathetic, but didn’t have anything to<br />

offer. She suggested that Bayliss hunt<br />

around for a non-profit that might be able<br />

to help.<br />

— Continued, Page 11<br />

PAGE 2 JULY/AUGUST / 2017<br />


Paint and Dirt Flies as Charles Avenue<br />

Rejuvenation Project Gets Underway<br />

If you drove past the 500 block of Charles<br />

Avenue on June 1 0, you saw a bustle of<br />

activity as a group of neighbors and local<br />

organizations started on an experiment to<br />

transform the block.<br />

Most times, the work on neighborhood<br />

revitalization goes something like this: A<br />

nonprofit group builds or rehabs a house<br />

on a block. There’s one spruced up<br />

property, but the rest of the block remains<br />

the same. This time around, the idea was<br />

different. A collaboration of<br />

organizations, including Habitat for<br />

Humanity, NeighborWorks Home<br />

Partners, Preserve Frogtown and the<br />

Frogtown Neighborhood Association got<br />

together to ask neighbors how they<br />

wanted their block to change, and then put<br />

together a plan to make it happen.<br />

Shovels hit the dirt on a Saturday<br />

morning, as about 50 volunteers from<br />

Habitat, the African American men’s<br />

group Ujamaa Place, NeighborWorks,<br />

Youth Farm and Thrivent Financial joined<br />

a collection of neighbors to start in on<br />

rejuvenating the block. Among the<br />

projects: 1 0 new flower and vegetable<br />

gardens with fresh, rich compost; a<br />

patched-up garage with new siding and<br />

paint; a bright accent of paint on a front<br />

porch; a new door and stoop; a new<br />

window; and a start on a new roof.<br />


The block is recognized as a remarkably<br />

intact collection of turn-of-the-century<br />

workers’ cottages — small, modest homes<br />

not so much notable for their high style as<br />

for being a preserved stretch of housing<br />

that speaks to the accomplishments of the<br />

common man.<br />

“This wasn’t the end. It was the kick off, a<br />

beginning,” said Amanda Welliver at<br />

NeighborWorks after the 9 am to 3 pm<br />

project wrapped up. “This was a really<br />

good learning process for both the<br />

organizations and the neighbors."<br />

She noted that participation from<br />

neighbors grew as the Saturday event<br />

drew closer. At first only three neighbors<br />

wanted help planting a garden. “We<br />

developed a lot of new relationships. We<br />

had neighbors talking who hadn’t talked<br />

together over decades of living on the<br />

block. They were working together,<br />

talking about holding pot lucks.”<br />

"We did a good job, and everybody was<br />

helping out," said Steve Fagerland. "With<br />

all the new planting the block will look a<br />

lot better in a couple years."<br />

From left, Shoreé Ingram, Beth Hyser and Eva Moe from NeighborWorks Home<br />

Partners were among the 60+ workers on the June 1 0 Charles Ave. kick-off.<br />

Trash System Talks<br />

Near Finish Line<br />

St Paul could be closer to a revamped<br />

trash collection system, once negotiations<br />

are finalized between the city and the 1 5<br />

collection companies that currently serve<br />

Saint Paul neighborhoods. After several<br />

marathon meetings in June, participants<br />

are closing in on agreement over a new<br />

system that will be acceptable to both<br />

haulers and city officials, reports Kris<br />

Hageman, the city's Recycling and Solid<br />

Waste Program Manager.<br />

Organized trash collection advocates have<br />

espoused a system that divides the city<br />

into zones assigned to different haulers,<br />

instead of the current system that results<br />

in multiple haulers covering the same<br />

area. A new system could make<br />

provisions for hauling bulky items like<br />

mattresses and appliances, which now<br />

often end up littering Frogtown alleys.<br />

Details of the proposal are still being<br />

worked out, but a public hearing is set for<br />

Wed., July 1 9 at 5:30 pm in the City<br />

Council Chambers, Rm 31 0, City Hall.<br />

The Council will receive a staff update<br />

and recommendation for next steps<br />

toward implementing an organized trash<br />

collection system. Find out more at the<br />

city's "Coordinated Collection" webpage<br />

at: www.stpaul.gov/departments/publicworks/garbage/coordinated-collection.<br />

Patty Lammers and Johnny Howard are newly hired to serve in crime prevention<br />

and community engagement roles with the St. Paul Police Department.<br />

Frogtowners Are Link to St. Paul Cops<br />

The St. Paul Police Department added<br />

two new Frogtown-friendly staff<br />

members, bringing onboard long-time<br />

neighborhood resident and organizer<br />

Johnny Howard as community<br />

engagement specialist and outreach<br />

coordinator to the African American<br />

community, and native Frogtowner Patty<br />

Lammers as crime prevention coordinator.<br />

Howard led the Thomas Dale Block Clubs<br />

from 1 991 to 2006, building it into a<br />

network of affiliated Frogtown block<br />

clubs during a troubled period in<br />

neighborhood history. In addition to<br />

block-by-block organizing, the group ran<br />

a lawn service that employed local<br />

people, youth programs and food<br />

distribution services. Howard was also the<br />

director of West Minne’s youth football<br />

program for 1 8 years, coaching about 1 00<br />

kids each season, and has served on the<br />

boards of organizations such as the<br />

NAACP, the Urban League and the<br />

African American Leadership Council.<br />

Lammers, who has since migrated to the<br />

North End, grew up in Frogtown and, like<br />

Howard, is a familiar figure. She served<br />

on the board of the organization now<br />

known as the Frogtown Neighborhood<br />

Association for eight years, worked for<br />

the Thomas Dale Block Clubs throughout<br />

the 1 990s and later for the Greater<br />

Frogtown CDC and NeighborWorks<br />

Home Partners. She also chaired the<br />

Frogtown area Weed and Seed program, a<br />

neighborhood anti-crime and<br />

revitalization program, for eight years.<br />

Howard was one of 1 20 candidates<br />

considered for the new position, which is<br />

intended to help bridge the gap between<br />

police and the African American<br />

community. The idea is to create channels<br />

of communication before a crisis erupts.<br />

“The biggest thing is, you have to get out<br />

of the seat and on your feet,” said<br />

Howard. “I can’t be sitting in the office.<br />

I’ve got to walk down to the<br />

SuperAmerica, go to the Wilder complex.<br />

I’ve got to be at the coffeehouse. You<br />

can’t do it from a desk," he said.<br />

As crime prevention coordinator,<br />

Lammers is charged with working across<br />

the city to coordinate events such as<br />

National Night Out, plus assisting with<br />

block club organizing efforts. She will<br />

also connect neighbors to police<br />

information efforts, such as the monthly<br />

Western District community meetings.<br />

You can see Lammers in action at the<br />

Thursday, July 1 8 meeting, 9:30-11 am<br />

and 6:30-8 pm at 389 Hamline, and at the<br />

Thursday, August 1 5 meeting at the same<br />

times and location.<br />

Fenced Dale St. Lot Bought by NDC<br />

The dust-up over the vacant lot at 507 N.<br />

Dale St. ended recently when the taxforfeit<br />

property was bought by the<br />

Frogtown-based non-profit,<br />

Neighborhood Development Center.<br />

The lot, formerly home to the sincedemolished<br />

Rock ofAges church, was<br />

the source of a dispute between Ramsey<br />

County, the Community Stabilization<br />

Project, and the Frogtown Neighborhood<br />

Association. The neighborhood groups<br />

planted a raised-bed community garden<br />

on the abandoned site. The county<br />

insisted that the garden be removed.<br />

When they failed to make a deal, the<br />

county surrounded the lot with a<br />

chainlink fence.<br />

NDC director Mike Temali says the fence<br />

will come down, and the property will be<br />

used as green space and parking for<br />

businesses in the office building at 501<br />

N. Dale. NDC paid $79,900 for the<br />

property.<br />

Meanwhile, a court case between Rock of<br />

Ages church and the city, alleging that<br />

the church was unfairly compensated for<br />

its property, continues. The church was<br />

demolished in 2009 after the<br />

congregation was unable to afford<br />

extensive repairs ordered by St. Paul<br />

inspectors.<br />

JULY/AUGUST 2017<br />


Gun Violence: At<br />

Local Forum, Big<br />

Picture Plus<br />

Wrenching Story<br />

The Frogtown Neighborhood Association<br />

put on a forum about gun violence<br />

recently, amid a spate of shootings and<br />

concern from cops and rec center directors<br />

who worry what summer will bring.<br />

The forum took up a familiar subject that<br />

defies easy answers. Why do people grab<br />

a gun to deal with their problems, and<br />

what can be done to get them on a less<br />

destructive path?<br />

Otis Zanders, the director of Ujamaa<br />

Place, a local organization that works with<br />

young African American men, said that by<br />

his lights, the root of the gun problem is<br />

poverty. People are living paycheck to<br />

paycheck, attempting to deal with the<br />

stress and trauma in their lives but not<br />

knowing how to make things better.<br />

People, he said, need help to see a vision<br />

for their future and have dreams about<br />

how to improve their lives. “I see a lot of<br />

hopelessness,” he said. “We need to instill<br />

hopes and dreams so young men can value<br />

themselves.”<br />


The voice of experience: Linda Broyles' son died in a University Ave. shoot-out.<br />

Zanders was joined by Damon Drake, the<br />

Civic Engagement Coordinator of<br />

Community Action Parnership of Ramsey<br />

and Washington Counties. Drake<br />

preaches the need for training young<br />

people in conflict resolution, so that<br />

violence isn’t the only tool in their bag<br />

when they’re caught in an argument.<br />

Trouble is, said Drake, most people don’t<br />

want to begin to consider the deep<br />

problems that fuel gun play. Is it poverty,<br />

or parenting, or a general sense of<br />

hopelessness, Drake wondered. You have<br />

to consider everything that happened<br />

before a kid picks up a gun, he said,<br />

including a sense that he might never get a<br />

decent job, and never own a home. Like<br />

Zanders, Drake believes that kids need a<br />

sense that their dreams of a better life have<br />

a chance of being fulfilled.<br />

But for anyone who doubted the<br />

complexity of this issue, panelist Linda<br />

Broyles added the real-life understanding<br />

of a woman who has lost both her mother<br />

and son in shootings. Broyles explained<br />

her thinking during the forum and later at<br />

an interview in her North End home.<br />

After her mother was killed by gunfire<br />

while Broyles was still a young child, she<br />

was raised by an aunt who was a strict<br />

church lady of the every-Wednesday-<br />

Thursday-and-Sunday variety, with choir<br />

practice on Saturday. Her aunt insisted<br />

that when Broyles got home from school,<br />

she pull up a chair at the dining room<br />

table and do her homework. She was<br />

taken around to be introduced to the<br />

neighbors, who were told that if they saw<br />

young Linda doing anything she oughtn’t,<br />

they should make sure to let her know.<br />

The overriding value of the household,<br />

the way Broyles remembers it, was<br />

respect. You had to give it to get it. And<br />

there was not any doubt that her aunt<br />

would be treated respectfully. You don’t<br />

doubt from Broyles' calm but forceful<br />

demeanor that she parented her kids much<br />

the same way.<br />

Broyles raised her son, John, and two<br />

older children in the townhomes on the<br />

corner of Victoria and Minnehaha, amid a<br />

group of women who kept a close eye on<br />

their own and each other’s children.<br />

“People said I spoiled him,” Broyles said.<br />

But by her reckoning, he was born a<br />

sweetheart. “He just loved,” she said.<br />

“His heart was just big.” He took the<br />



younger kids to the park, banged on the<br />

neighbor’s door to ask if she wanted<br />

anything from the store. “With him, I<br />

didn’t have to worry about anything.<br />

Whatever would make you happy, that is<br />

what he’d do.”<br />

He made mistakes along the way. An<br />

assault charge landed him in Totem Town,<br />

but after he got out he took a job at<br />

McDonald’s and signed up for a<br />

bricklayer apprentice program.<br />

On March 1 0, 201 6, he asked his mother<br />

for $20 so he could go out with his cousin.<br />

Later he called his mother to say that the<br />

cousin had a gun. He wondered what he<br />

should do. Broyles told him to bring the<br />

gun to her, and she would take it to the<br />

police. Then she waited for him to show<br />

up. He never did.<br />

John and the cousin headed for a party at<br />

the Days Inn Motel on University and<br />

Prior. There they encountered Rayshon<br />

Brooks, with whom the cousin had an<br />

ongoing beef. The way Broyles<br />

understood it, the cousin had spoken<br />

disrespectfully of Brooks’ dead mother.<br />

Brooks had a gun. John was holding the<br />

cousin’s gun. Brooks waved his gun at the<br />

cousins. They ran, but John turned to fire<br />

some shots in Brooks’ direction.<br />

Broyles thinks she understands what<br />

happened. Of her son, she says, “He was a<br />

protector. He loved his family with his<br />

whole heart.” She can imagine him<br />

shooting in Brooks’ direction to scare him<br />

off. “But he wasn’t scared off. He had a<br />

gun, too. He just kept coming.” John was<br />

shot and died on the sidewalk.<br />

In the aftermath of her son’s murder, just<br />

shy of his eighteenth birthday, his friends<br />

came to Broyles and told her they wanted<br />

to settle the score. “That’s not going to<br />

bring him back,” she told them.<br />

If you ask Broyles for her idea of<br />

solutions to gun violence, she says that<br />

parents have to be more involved with<br />

their children. You can’t have babies<br />

having babies, she says. Children want to<br />

have children, but they don’t want to be<br />

parents and they don’t have the tools to do<br />

the job right. She sees too many children<br />

who look to her like their parents just<br />

don’t care. “They look like they’re not<br />

being fed. Their attitude — there’s a lack<br />

of respect.”<br />

In her own home, she says, “You respect<br />

me or you get out.” When her relative’s<br />

children visit, they know to greet<br />

everyone politely. If they get a plate out<br />

they know to wash it when they’re done.<br />

If you’re talking to her you don’t doubt<br />

that all of this is true. There’s not a hostile<br />

note in it, but you know that she means it.<br />

But in the end you’re left with a riddle.<br />


Buhr try their hand at mashing rice for patties as Shawn Mouacheupao of Hmong<br />

Cultural Experience coaches. The mash-fest was a part of the day's activities at<br />

the Backyard Farm Fair at Frogtown Park and Farm. The June event featured free<br />

food, music, a climbing wall for kids, and loads of information from local<br />

organizations. Farm staff figured 700 people attended.<br />

Her child was, by both Broyles’ account<br />

and that of neighbors who knew him, a<br />

charming kid. He was raised by a loving<br />

mother and surrounded by neighbors who<br />

were concerned about him. And he died in<br />

a shoot out.<br />

Later, forum organizer Tia Williams tried<br />

to make some sense of that contradiction.<br />

Her own kids were roughly the same age<br />

as John Broyles, and were raised across<br />

the street. "He was the kid who would<br />

poke his little chubby face up against my<br />

screen and ask if I wanted something from<br />

the store," Williams said.<br />

Continued, Page 11<br />

JULY/AUGUST 2017<br />



study to become a heating, ventilation and<br />

air conditioning specialist.<br />

He'll run the bar with his brother — "a<br />

good cook," Wolde says. He has plans to<br />

open a small kitchen that will feature<br />

Ethiopian and traditional American food.<br />

Among the offerings in Wolde's plans are<br />

sambusas, fried triangular pastries stuffed<br />

with meat. He's hoping the remodeled<br />

back room will serve as a community<br />

space for weddings, graduation parties,<br />

showers and other events.<br />

Business Struggle,<br />

with a Success<br />

and professional setbacks. The good<br />

news: Green recently landed a lease on a<br />

commercial kitchen at Hazel Park<br />

Congregational Church, and is poised to<br />

get started on both catering and retail<br />

food products. With help from the<br />

Neighborhood Development Center, she's<br />

also exploring retail space at the<br />

Minneapolis Global Market.<br />

For anyone considering the small<br />

business life, Green's story is both<br />

cautionary and hopeful.<br />

New Owner Binyam Wolde takes over at the Nickel Joint at 501 Blair Ave.<br />

At Iconic Local Bar, New Management<br />

Last January we reported on the sobering<br />

realities entrepreneur Kadijia Green faced<br />

in her catering business start up. (See the<br />

January/February 201 7 issue at<br />

greeningfrogtown.com/archives for<br />

details.) Despite Green's determination,<br />

the future seemed uncertain after personal<br />

Among the changes probably never<br />

contemplated when the Nickel Joint<br />

started doing business in 1 906 is that an<br />

Ethiopian would come to own it in 201 7.<br />

Along with a recent change in ownership<br />

at Willard's Liquors at 738 Thomas, it's a<br />

changing of the guard at Frogtown's<br />

oldest taverns.<br />

At the Nickel Joint, Binyam Wolde is<br />

settling in as the new owner of a<br />

neighborhood bar best known for its<br />

collection of baseball memorabilia.<br />

Wolde arrived in the US from Ethopia in<br />

1 999, working his way up from airport<br />

customer service to an airport taxi<br />

business, followed by custodial work at<br />

the University of Minnesota, and more<br />

PAGE 6<br />


JULY/AUGUST 2017<br />


Frogtown's Future:<br />

The Comic Book<br />

The ten-year plan for Frogtown's future<br />

took another step forward on June 27 as<br />

residents gathered to comment on a draft<br />

of a document that will become part of<br />

the City of St. Paul's comprehensive plan.<br />

The new wrinkle in the Frogtown vision<br />

for the neighborhood: it will be presented<br />

as an easy-to-read, comic book-style<br />

graphic novel.<br />

At the Frogtown Neighborhood<br />

Association forum, neighbors gathered in<br />

small groups to chew over fine points of<br />

the plan's content. Broken into sections<br />

that include land use, housing,<br />

transportation, arts and education, health<br />

and economic vitality, the plan in broad<br />

terms seeks to preserve Frogtown's<br />

diversity while making it a greener,<br />

pedestrian and bike-friendly place with<br />

more affordable housing options. In this<br />

vision of the future, Dale Street would<br />

become a business and green-space lined<br />

Main Street; more opportunities would be<br />

created for local entrepreneurs; and<br />

housing choices such as microapartments,<br />

tiny house developments and<br />

backyard mother-in-law cottages would<br />

be encouraged via changes in local<br />

zoning codes.<br />

The zoning law change was among the<br />

more concrete<br />

recommendations<br />

included in the plan.<br />

Currently much of<br />

Frogtown is zoned<br />

for single-family<br />

residences. One<br />

effect is that when a<br />

duplex or triplex<br />

stands empty for<br />

more than a year, it<br />

is can only be used<br />

as a single-family<br />

home after it's fixed<br />

up and returned to<br />

the market. A<br />

zoning change<br />

would allow new<br />

owners to continue<br />

to use the property<br />

as multi-unit<br />

housing, and would<br />

also open the area to<br />

development of<br />

townhouses,<br />

boarding houses,<br />

elderly housing, and<br />

mixed residentialcommercial<br />

uses.<br />


As neighbors puzzled<br />

over the plan, a<br />

familiar discussion<br />

took place. How to avoid gentrification<br />

that displaces current residents while also<br />

making Frogtown a greeener, more<br />

vibrant place to live that rewards<br />


of festival goers filled Como Ave. on June 24-June 25 during this<br />

year's event, sponsored by Hmongtown Marketplace. Food<br />

vendors and an entertainment stage gave the street the feel of the<br />

State Fair midway. Sports tournaments held during the festival<br />

included the game tuj lub, a game that looks like a cross between<br />

top-spinning and bocce ball (bottom right). Food included items<br />

you won't see at the State Fair, such as the Thai dish, kanom krok<br />

(top right), a type of savory pancake.<br />

investment and allows local families to<br />

build wealth?<br />

FNA director Caty Royce says a final<br />

version of the plan will be ready by mid-<br />

August. Before then, get a preview at the<br />

FNA website: frogtownmn.org. Click the<br />

SMAPL link.<br />

PAGE 8<br />



More Food Options for Frogtown<br />

Grocery store on wheels and church-lot free food giveaways add to choices<br />

by Hannah Whitney<br />

Have you seen a big, green bus covered in<br />

colorful photos of food roaming around<br />

your neighborhood? Have you seen the<br />

long Friday-afternoon lines snaking<br />

around the St. Stephanus parking lot at<br />

Blair and Grotto? You’re witnessing local<br />

efforts to make quality food more<br />

available to Frogtowners.<br />

That green bus is the Twin Cities Mobile<br />

Market, a grocery store on wheels that is<br />

committed to bringing you affordable and<br />

accessible nutrition.<br />

The TCMM began as a program of the<br />

Wilder Foundation in 201 4, and has<br />

recently expanded to include two bus<br />

markets, servicing a total of 31 locations.<br />

Founder Leah Porter developed the<br />

concept after conducting research on food<br />

and social justice and learning about<br />

similar programs in other cities around the<br />

U.S. The TCMM is a team of 1 3 people<br />

with Filsan Ibrahim serving as the<br />

Community Engagement Coordinator.<br />

The Mobile Market buys produce from<br />

local farmers while ensuring that their<br />

prices are comparable to those of large<br />

grocery stores like Cub. Plus, as a part of<br />

the Market Bucks program, TCMM can<br />

now match dollar for dollar with SNAP.<br />

They offer a wide variety of groceries and<br />

take suggestions, aiming to provide<br />

FREE FOOD AT ST. STEPHANUS: Volunteer Thao Xiong (left) helps the family of<br />

recent Karen immigrant Leh Dia (blue blouse) load up on free vegetables, meat<br />

and fruit at the every-Friday, 3-5 pm giveaway at the St. Stephanus parking lot on<br />

Blair near Grotto. It's a temporary fill-in for Frogtown's shuttered food shelf, and<br />

it's been drawing a throng of hundreds for Second Harvest-salvaged food, which<br />

was on local grocers shelves just the day before. Organizer Delinia Parris says<br />

this site will be open until September. After that? Still up in the air, but she hopes<br />

to nail down an indoor location before the weather turns.<br />

options to people of all cultures and needs.<br />

Unsure of how to prepare and cook fresh<br />

produce? You are not alone. Fortunately,<br />

the Mobile Market has offered cooking<br />

classes, easy recipes, and even a free<br />

“recipe of the week,” and is working to<br />

offer more satisfying ways to eat healthy.<br />

What does the future look like for<br />

TCMM? Leah and Filsan happily report<br />

that 89% of their customers buy more<br />

fruits and veggies than they did prior to<br />

shopping at the Mobile Market. They are<br />

looking to add more buses in the future, as<br />

they have received good community<br />

feedback.<br />

With three locations right here in<br />

Frogtown, Leah and Filsan want you to<br />

check out the Mobile Market anytime you<br />

see it out and parked, because it is open to<br />

everyone, no questions asked!<br />

The Market will be at the Hubbs Learning<br />

Center (1 030 University Ave) on<br />

Wednesdays from 11 :30-1 :00, the Wilder<br />

Square Hi-Rise (750 Milton St.) on<br />

Thursdays from 3:30-4:30pm, and at the<br />

Wilder Child Development Center (911<br />

Lafond Ave) on Thursdays from 5:00-<br />

6:00pm. They can’t wait to see you!<br />

Mango Blueberry Fruit Salad with<br />

Thyme<br />

4 mangos (cubed)<br />

1 cup blueberries<br />

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme<br />

1 teaspoon grated ginger<br />

1 ⁄4 cup lemon juice<br />

1 teaspoon lemon zest<br />

Honey to taste<br />

Cube mangos into bite-sized pieces. Add<br />

blueberries, thyme, ginger, lemon juice<br />

and lemon zest. Gently toss. Add honey<br />

(optional).<br />

JULY/AUGUST 2017<br />


The Block Club King<br />


Don Grundhauser on three decades ofneighborhood organizing<br />

If someone has helped run a Frogtownarea<br />

block club longer than Don<br />

Grundhauser, stand up and take a bow.<br />

But for now, we’re declaring the Capitol<br />

Heights resident the king of local block<br />

clubs. He’s been a driving force behind<br />

the Capitol Heights block club since 1 985.<br />

One morning in early June he was<br />

buckling down to a familiar task at his<br />

kitchen table on Winter Street. He was<br />

getting ready for that night’s monthly<br />

block club meeting. It was a full agenda<br />

of ultra-local topics. Should a senior<br />

housing/retail complex be located at the<br />

site of the old Stahl House bowling alley<br />

on Rice St. and Como? What about a<br />

redesign of Rice Street? Then there was<br />

the matter of managing the community<br />

garden, plus the update of the city’s<br />

comprehensive plan for the area. The<br />

email reminders had already gone out, but<br />

there were agendas to sort out, last minute<br />

phone calls to manage.<br />

In short, a slight variation on the theme<br />

that’s run through more than 350 meetings<br />

held over the past 32 years.<br />

Grundhauser got hauled into the block<br />

Grundhauser: "If you want change, you've got to participate to get the job done."<br />

club business by a neighbor, Prosper<br />

Eagan. This, Grundhauser remembers,<br />

was in the era when the need for block<br />

clubs was widely preached. “It was a<br />

community-type thing,” he says now.<br />

“Everybody should have a block club.<br />

Rather than whining about things, people<br />

should get out of the house and get<br />

involved.” The big issues of the time<br />

were keeping your yard clean, getting to<br />

know your neighbors, staying on top of<br />

crime.<br />

In a neighborhood where a quarter of the<br />

population changes every year,<br />

Grundhauser is practically a feature of<br />

the landscape. He and his wife, Joanne,<br />

bought their house in 1 968 for $1 6,400<br />

and raised four children there. Now, at<br />

age 75, and a widower for 11 years, he<br />

can look back on 50 years of change.<br />

There were the effects of the foreclosure<br />

crisis, and the conversion of houses from<br />

occupant-owned to rental. There were the<br />

victories, like getting parking restrictions<br />

removed so residents could leave their<br />

cars on the street; of prevailing in a<br />

struggle to get more Watch Out for<br />

Children signs put up; or insisting upon<br />

exterior design changes when a new<br />

townhome complex went up in the heart<br />

of Capitol Heights. Then there are the<br />

ongoing battles, such as getting a leash<br />

on the kids who smoke weed in the<br />

Bethesda Hospital parking ramp.<br />

As is so often true when you ask<br />

someone why they’ve done the things<br />

they do for such a long time,<br />

Grundhauser was at first baffled by the<br />

question. Slowly he came around to an<br />

answer. “If you want change,” he said,<br />

“you’ve got to participate to get the job<br />

done. I think the things we’ve<br />

— Continued, Page 11<br />



accomplished have been good for<br />

everyone.”<br />

I went on for a while, suggesting that<br />

people who, like Grundhauser, fit into the<br />

category of Involved Citizen might derive<br />

satisfaction in having control over their<br />

environment, shaping the place to suit<br />

their desires. God Bless America was<br />

practically playing in the background by<br />

the time I was done.<br />

There were a few moments of silence<br />

until Grundhauser observed, “Well, yeah.<br />

Like I said, I think participating in the<br />

community to get something<br />

accomplished is helpful to everyone.”<br />

We let it go at that.<br />


For an explanation of Broyles' death, she<br />

turned to the theory of trauma and the<br />

effects of poverty and racism. Consider<br />

all the usual, well-documented disparities<br />

in education, housing, home ownership,<br />

incarceration and employment among<br />

African American men, she said. “That<br />

creates an element of violence that comes<br />

from a sense of hopeless and<br />

powerlessness.” You may be generally<br />

powerless, Williams continued, but you<br />

might be able to feel powerful in relation<br />

to your neighbor, who is trapped in the<br />

same grim situation. “It becomes a<br />

lifestyle,” Williams said. “You’ve got to<br />

protect yourself to survive. You think,<br />

‘I’ve got to get them before they get<br />

me.’”<br />

The trouble, she said, “is knowing even<br />

where to start in building support and<br />

resources that are genuine to our<br />

community.”<br />

Back at the forum, Damon Drake asked a<br />

series of questions. “What does justice<br />

look like? What does conflict resolution<br />

look like? What do solutions look like?<br />

How do we make things better rather than<br />

worse?”<br />

By the end of the night, let’s just say the<br />

jury was still out.<br />


He went home, consulted Google, and<br />

came up with the name of a Minneapolis<br />

organization, Exodus Lending, that helps<br />

people out of the payday lending trap. In<br />

April, 201 6, Exodus offered Bayliss a<br />

deal that he called “extraordinary.” They<br />

would pay off his loan of $741 . He’d pay<br />

them $61 .75 per month, automatically<br />

withdrawn from his checking account,<br />

until the loan was settled. In addition<br />

he’d take financial management classes<br />

at Lutheran Social Service.<br />

“The upshot is, I haven’t had to take out<br />

another loan. I started putting money<br />

away. I started a 401 K (retirement plan).<br />

I’m up to date on all my other<br />

obligations. I wouldn’t be here if not for<br />

Exodus.”<br />

One measure of his financial turnaround:<br />

He now has payday lenders calling him<br />

to ask if he wants another loan, because<br />

he’d been such a good customer.<br />

“Despicable, but not illegal,” is how<br />

payday lending is described by Legal<br />

Services Advocacy Project attorney Ron<br />

Elwood, who has tracked the issue for<br />

years. The best alternative to payday<br />

lending, he says, is “anything else.” By<br />

his lights, payday loans only delay the<br />

inevitable need to talk to creditors, get<br />

help from family or friends, get credit<br />

counseling and rearrange your finances.<br />

“These companies don’t care if you can’t<br />

pay them back. In fact, repeat lending to<br />

people is how they make their money.”<br />

At Exodus Lending, director Sara<br />

Nelson-Pallmeyer says the two-year old<br />

group has refinanced 1 65 loans for<br />

troubled payday borrowers to date, with a<br />

default rate of just five percent. The<br />

organization was started by congregants<br />

at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in<br />

Minneapolis, who were alarmed when a<br />

payday lending shop opened down the<br />

street. With a recent $1 00,000 from the<br />

Minnesota Legislature, Exodus is poised<br />

to expand its reach.<br />

You can find out more at<br />

ExodusLending.org, or by calling (61 2)<br />

61 5-0067.<br />

NEXT-GEN ENTREPRENEURS: Brothers Devon (left) and Eric White are among<br />

local youth developing their landscaping and business skills over the summer.<br />

The Whites offer lawn mowing, weeding and (later on) snow shoveling. Their<br />

business, Jay & Sons Handyman, is reachable at 61 2-267-1 079.<br />

is published six times per year by Health Advocates Inc.<br />

843 Van Buren Ave., St. Paul,<br />

and is distributed door-to-door in the area from<br />

Lexington Pkwy. to 35E, and University Ave. to Pierce Butler.<br />

Publisher: Patricia Ohmans<br />

Editor: Anthony Schmitz<br />

Contact us at<br />

651 .757.5970 • patricia.ohmans@gmail.com<br />

651 .757.7479 • apbschmitz@gmail.com<br />

Ad rates & more at GreeningFrogtown.com<br />

Next issue, September/October.<br />

Ad deadline August 21 .<br />

Health Advocates also sponsors Frogtown Green, an initiative that promotes green<br />

development as a means to increase the health and wealth of Frogtown residents.<br />

The Frogtown Flavor feature is sponsored by a grant from<br />

the Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Minnesota Foundation.<br />

JULY/AUGUST 2017<br />



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