JanFeb

greeningfrogtown

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

Inside...

Somali‐owned

Restaurant, Mall

Set for Dale St.

Mahad Aden is

transforming a

once-troubled

corner — P. 8

BIG IDEAS: A PUBLIC HEALTH SOLUTION TO GUN VIOLENCE? P. 2

That'sAll,Folks

Final issue ofGreening Frogtown; Monitor to continue coverage

Not much lasts forever,

including Greening

Frogtown. This is our

last issue.

It’s not because

Frogtown has run out

of news. Anyone who

lives here knows there’s

always plenty going on.

A lot of it is good news,

as you can see in this

issue. For instance, the

new Native-centric

building for homeless

kids on University

Ave.; the latest Greens

Queens cook-off; a redo

at the old Bourbon

Bar. Then there’s the flip side: the

ongoing concern about gun violence,

or the precipitous jump in property

taxes. Plus there’s the just plain

complicated: Taxes go up because

home values are increasing. Is that

good or bad?

We’ve been engaged and challenged

over the past six years to explore these

and many of the other issues that

make Frogtown a joyful, frustrating

and always fascinating place. But it’s

We've been at this for a while: (Left) Patricia Ohmans, daughters

Anna, Laney and me in 1 995, when we published the Frogtown Times;

(Right) same kids 25 years later with Greening Frogtown.

time to turn the page.

I’m 66 years old, and have been at the

newspaper business for the past 46

years. I’m ready to open the door to

what the hopeful call the third phase

of life — done with childhood, done

with the workaday world, and on to

whatever it is that comes after.

Patricia and I are happy to report that

Frogtown will still get a newspaper

plopped on its doorsteps in the

local news.

months and years to

come. Tesha

Christensen, the

energetic publisher of

the Monitor — the

newspaper currently

delivered to Hamline/

Midway and Como —

will begin covering

Frogtown and

distributing the paper

here as well. The

Monitor is published

monthly and features

among its writers the

indefatigable Jane

McClure, who will

bring her vast

knowledge to bear on

Patricia and I aren’t going anywhere.

Over the past 40 years we’ve raised

two kids here, run our newspapers

and other businesses, and been deeply

involved in the life of the community.

I can’t promise that we’ll keep our

mouths shut about issues that affect

Frogtown. But it’s time to pass the

torch to the generations behind us,

and hope that the light burns brightly

for them. — Tony Schmitz

It's A Community

Building Crew

Neighbors like

Henry Velasquez do

the heavy lifting

— P. 5

He's Got a 2020

Plan for Peace

Peace Pole planter

Melvin Giles offers

a simple step you

can take every day

— P. 6


BIG IDEAS

A Public Health Solution to Gun Violence?

After meetings filled with hand wringing, a strategy emerges

In recent months there’s been no shortage

of chatter about gun violence, with the

NAACP calling a church basement

session, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

conducting a series of three community

meetings, and the Frogtown

Neighborhood Association gathering a

number of anti-violence and youth

development reps for a forum.

But what to do to stem the flood of gun

violence that has left 27 people dead in

St. Paul in 201 9? The mayor offered a

plan to direct money for initiatives that

rescind a proposed fee for kids using the

after school Rec Check program; add

money to youth employment programs;

hire more community ambassadors to

connect kids to programs; and experiment

with a public health approach to curb gun

violence.

The last pitch raised a question. What is a

public health solution to gun violence?

Recently Danny Givens sat down to

explain his version of what this means.

Givens is director of violence prevention

for the St. Paul/Ramsey County Public

Health Department. He came to the role

by a non-traditional path, having been by

his own description “on both sides of the

gun” — someone who’s been shot, and

who served 1 2 years for shooting an offduty

police officer in a botched 1 996

It all starts with healing, says city/county violence prevention head Danny Givens.

robbery. In addition to his county job, he

is also pastor ofAbove Every Name

Ministries.

Givens says he got an on-the-street

picture of what is right and wrong with

our approach to gun violence when he

responded to a noon-time shooting in May

at Maryland and Arundel, where 21 -yearold

Marquez Perry-Banks was shot to

death in the street outside a convenience

store. For Givens it was a complicated

moment. The victim was his co-pastor’s

son.

“I was forced to respond not only as a

pastor, but as the director of violence

prevention,” he said. He saw the crew of

officials that gathers when there’s a

murder — the cops, the emergency med

techs, the coroner. Then he looked around

at the crowd watching from the nearby

apartments, and the people gathered in the

street. Realizing that everyone who

witnessed the scene had been touched by

this violence, he approached the

bystanders to give them his number and

tell them to call if they needed to talk.

Soon after, the event gathered another

level of complexity for Givens, who

knew the alleged shooter, Lavelle Darvon

Brown, as well. Brown’s young son had

died nine months earlier, said Givens, and

he had performed the funeral service.

“That particular act of violence was my

baptism on the job,” said Givens. “I was

walking with the victim's family to the

medical examiner for the death

certificate, going with them to survivor

resources, figuring out what happens at

the hospital, with the insurance, with the

first court appearance with the family.” In

the courtroom he looked around and

recognized the shooter’s mother. “I had

just buried her grandson and now she’s

across the aisle,” he said. “My heart was

in two places. It’s not necessarily

appropriate for me to walk over to her,

but as a pastor I have to. What is our

responsibility to the perpetrators of gun

violence?”

The experience underlined for Givens the

cascading and sometimes hidden effects

of violent acts. There are well-oiled

systems to take care of the victim’s body

and to find and prosecute the perpetrator.

But the trauma spills over onto parents,

siblings, neighbors, cops and bystanders

whose emotional unrest is often left to

fester.

—Continued, Page 12

PAGE 2 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


FROGTOWN NEWS

Ignore Snow Emergency? You Might Get

Whacked with Higher Towing Fees

A word of warning about ignoring a St.

Paul snow emergency: it’s going to cost

more. In December, the City Council

raised the price of a tow to $1 75, a hike

from the previous charge of $90 to $1 20,

depending on the company that towed

you. Tack on the St. Paul police fee of

$80, $20 in taxes, the $56 parking ticket,

plus a $1 5 per day impound storage fee,

and now you’re looking at $346 for

failing to move your vehicle.

The reason for the price hike: the

contracted tow firms weren’t earning

enough money to retain the subcontractors

who towed cars. As a result,

too many cars remained improperly

parked, making it tough for city plow

teams to clear the streets.

Avoid the city’s towing charges by

getting advance notice of a snow

emergency.

• Phone app: Get it free by searching

for St. Paul Winter Snow Parking.

• Voice: Call 651 -266-PLOW for a

recorded message about snow

emergency status.

• Sign up for email or text messages at

https://tinyurl.com/snowtowSP

POST ELECTION, BACK INTO THE FIRE: A few days after the November election,

re-elected city councilman Dai Thao held a celebration at Frogtown Community

Center to get the low-down from neighbors. Above he gets an earful from Norbert

“Rocky” Sarzoza, a Capitol Heights resident and retired Public Works employee

who had a few opinions about snow plowing. “It’s poor plowing,” he said. “They

need to do a better job.”

Thao won the Ward One seat for the third time, gaining another four-year term. He

edged out his closest rival, Anika Bowie, by 371 votes out of 6,61 4 ballots cast,

after votes for Liz De La Torre and Abu Nayeem were redistributed as part of the

ranked-choice voting process.

Bowie carried the area from Lexington to Dale between Laurel and University, and

from Dale to Rice between 94 and University. Everywhere else, Thao ruled.

His top priorities for the coming term: affordable housing, public safety and

economic development including small business.

Dale St. Bridge Redo: Detours & Closures

When Construction Begins in February

Get Help for Your Asthmatic Kids

In case you needed another example of

health disparities, metro area health

workers recently served up a Frogtown

session on the radically different rates of

asthma among area racial groups. The bit

of silver lining here: you can get free help

to reduce the risk for kids in your home.

Incidence of asthma is 47 percent higher

in African Americans compared to whites,

said Healthy Homes program staffer Dana

Janowiak. In Hennepin County, health

stats show that kids in low-income areas

are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed

with asthma compared to those in higher

income neighborhoods.

What triggers asthma attacks? It’s a long

list. To name a few — pets, pollen,

chemical fumes, household bugs, fungus,

spores, dust, smoke, pollution, anger,

stress, air fresheners and cold air.

“A lot of things are not in the child or

parent’s control, especially in they’re

renters,” said Janowiak.

You can get free help to get a lid on

asthma attacks in Ramsey County if your

child has been diagnosed with asthma or

has respiratory problems. The Healthy

Homes program offers a visit from an

environmental health specialist and a

public health nurse. They’ll help you

identify asthma triggers in your home,

and provide free products to make your

home safer. The giveaways include a

HEPA vacuum cleaner, air purifiers, bed

and pillow encasements, cleaning

supplies, a radon monitor and asthma-safe

pest control products. Contact the Healthy

Homes program at 651 -266-11 99.

Get set for some Dale St. detours in

February, as reconstruction of the 59 year

old bridge gets underway.

The $1 4.7 million project will result in a

wider bridge with better sight lines and

longer turn lanes to reduce rush-hour

jams. Pedestrian/bike ways on each side

of the bridge will be 1 6 feet wide,

festooned with art work and separated

from traffic lanes by a four-foot shoulder.

Medians, bump-outs and zebra stripes at

key intersections between Iglehart and

University will make crossing Dale seem

like something other than a death

sentence. And a gently sloping sidewalk

on the east side of Dale, north of the 94

ramp, will make it possible for people in

wheelchairs to descend the slope.

The Dale St. freeway entrance and exit

ramps will be closed throughout

construction, which is slated to be

completed by August of 2021 . Traffic

along the Dale construction zone will be

reduced to one lane in each direction for

much of the build out, and portions of St.

Anthony and Concordia will be closed.

Get a detailed view of scheduled detours

and an interesting animation of traffic

flow over the finished bridge at

https://tinyurl.com/dalebridge.

At a November meeting at Rondo Library,

residents pressed for details on minority

and neighborhood-resident hiring for

construction jobs. Federal project funding

specifies hiring goals of 32 percent

minority and 20 percent female workers.

“I’m distrustful of minority hiring goals,”

said Melvin Carter II (the mayor’s father).

“What if they don’t meet the goals?”

Contractors must show a “good faith

effort, and prove they’ve taken reasonable

steps to meet hiring goals,” replied county

workforce development staffer John

O'Phelan.

The redone Dale bridge: longer turn lanes, wider sidewalks, safer for pedestrians.

“We need to make certain that good faith

efforts really are good faith efforts,” said

County Commissioner Toni Carter, who

represents the construction-zone district.

As for hiring generally from the

neighborhood, Noel Nix from the mayor's

community engagement staff, said he

called federal authorities to see if hiring

standards could include quotas of workers

to be hired Frogtown, Rondo and Summit

U. The answer, said Nix: No.

Frog Food by Z Akhmetova

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

PAGE 3


neighborhood is making up for that now,

with gains in value that are among the

highest in the city. The median estimated

value (half higher, half lower) for a

Frogtown home in 201 9 was $1 29,900; in

2020 it is $1 54,1 00.

If you own that median value home,

you’re on the hook for about $2,300 in

property tax, up from $1 ,870 in 201 9 —

about $430 more. So what can you do

besides complain?

FROGTOWN NEWS

Cash-strapped seniors can cut property

taxes by applying to the Senior Citizens

Property Tax Deferral program. If you’re

65 or older and have a household income

of $60,000 or less, you can defer a

portion of the tax on your homesteaded

property. You pay three percent of your

previous year’s household income. At the

$37,000 median household income, that’s

$1 ,11 0. With a tax bill of $2,300, you can

defer $1 ,1 90. The deferred tax is payable,

with interest that cannot exceed five

percent, when you or your heirs sell the

house.

There are savings out there for renters,

too. If your household income is less than

$61 ,320, you can claim a refund of up to

$2,1 50, depending on your actual income

and the amount of property tax paid on

your unit. Get a Certificate of Rent Paid

from your landlord, who is required to

provide you with one by January 31 , and

file for the refund before August 1 5, 2020.

THIS OLD FROGTOWN HOUSE:

Ramsey County valued it at $11 4,900 in

201 8, $1 57,700 for 2020. Taxes will go

from $1 ,473 to about $2,400.

Rising Values Add to

Tax Bite; Refunds,

Deferrals Ease Pain

If you own a Frogtown home, the good

news is that after years of declining or

stagnant value, your house is worth more

this year than it was last year. The related

bad news is that increased value, plus a

higher rate of city and county taxes,

means that you’ll be writing a bigger

check for property taxes again this year.

After the 2008 housing bust, Frogtown

home prices stayed in the cellar long after

other parts of the city had recovered. Our

One good move is to remember to file

your Minnesota Property Tax Credit form

if your income is less than $11 3,1 50. The

refund amount varies with income; the

less you make, the more you get back.

Say you have a household income equal

to the Frogtown median of $37,000.

You’ll get a refund of about $790 on your

$1 54,1 00 home.

You qualify for an extra refund if your

property tax increased by more than 1 2

percent compared to last year, and if the

increase was at least $1 00. No problem

with that $1 54,1 00 home, where the

property tax increase is 21 .5 percent.

Count on about another $350 refund

because of this big tax jump. Combined,

your credits will get you refunds of about

$1 ,1 40. So that $2,300 tax bill looks a lot

more like $1 ,1 60 by the time everything

is said and done.

Nobody loves taxes, but you’re paying

for amenities like parks and libraries, and

necessities like schools and roads, police,

firefighters and social services. At $1 ,1 60,

that comes to about $3.1 8 per day.

A New Landing Pad for Homeless Youth

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for

what seems like forever,” said Ain Dah

Yung director Deb Foster on a blustery

November night. The Native drumming

and singing crew had just wrapped up,

and pipe smoke was whipped down

University Ave. by a stiff wind. What

remained was to cut the red ribbon on a

42-unit supportive housing complex for

homeless Native youth 1 8 to 24 at 769

University Ave.

Even before the ribbon got cut, 1 4 units

had been filled; a testimony to the need.

The efficiency apartments each come with

their own bath and kitchen. Among the

PAGE 4 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


amenities are medicine gardens, a sweat

lodge, an activity center for Native crafts,

a fitness studio, workforce center, food

pantry and space for cooking lessons. All

of the residents will have case managers

and access to mental health services, with

staff on site around the clock. Residents

will be expected to pay an income-based

portion of rent, and pursue job and

educational goals.

The distinctive, colorful building makes

an architectural nod to the tipis of the

Plains Indians. Along with Project for

Pride in Living, the facility was supported

with contributions from the Mille Lacs

Band of Ojibwe and the Shakopee

Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Said

Foster, “This project has been Native-led

and grounded in Native American culture

and traditions.”

FROGTOWN NEWS

For another view ofAin Dah Yung, check

out its pow wow on Saturday and Sunday,

February 8 and 9, at Central High School.

Dancers, drummers enlivened opening.

How Community Gets Built: Resident‐Led

Celebrations Bring Neighbors Together

a great example of a well-organized and

welcoming event that draws a mob and

builds up a sense of community.

This year the cook-off included a special

shout-out to long-time organizer Megan

Phinney, who’s been an unassuming force

in making the cook-off the stellar event

that it is. She claims that after this year

she’s passing on the torch, and wiped

away tears as she accepted a bouquet.

GREENS COOK-OFF CHAMPS: Bev

and Nate Galloway with the coveted

cook-off first place traveling trophy.

AT THE ANNUAL GREENS COOK‐OFF:

A crowd packed the Mt. Olivet Baptist

Church auditorium December 7 for the

fourth annual Greens Cook-Off, with

retirees Nate and Bev Galloway walking

away with the championship trophy,

besting a field of 1 2 contestants.

The cook-off this year veered into nontraditional

territory, with two vegan

entries that featured unexpected

ingredients including peanuts, butter

beans, coconut oil and tamari sauce. The

Galloways stuck to the basics with a

recipe that included ham shank, collards,

chicken broth, garlic, onion, sugar, salt

and pepper. Secret ingredients? On this

Bev Galloway was delphic. “A little bit of

this and that,” she said.

Nate Galloway was the long-time Central

High athletic

director and is

now a prominent

Ramsey

County Master

Gardener. Bev

Galloway taught

at St. Paul

Public Schools'

Randolph

Megan Phinney

Heights.

If you weren’t there, tough luck — it’s

bitter tears until next year. The cook-off is

FOR SENIORS, A HOLIDAY DINNER:

Baked ham with pineapple, fried chicken,

scalloped potatoes, corn, salad and all the

fixings were on the menu at the annual

holiday dinner for 75 of Frogtown’s

seniors in early December at the West

Minnehaha Recreation Center.

Thanks to the Friendly Frog Events

committee, the holiday dinner went off

without a hitch, despite the absence of

long-time event organizers Larry and

Sharon Paulson. Larry Paulson was

briefly hospitalized after Thanksgiving

with pneumonia but has since recovered,

according to Henry Velasquez, a

committee leader.

Along with his wife Kim, neighbor Lynn

Byrne, and several other Frogtown

residents, Velasquez heads up the 1 0-

member group that has taken

responsibility

for seniorfocused

events. These

include

monthly

luncheons, a

Halloween

party, and

horseshoe

tourneys.

Events are

funded

primarily

through an

annual garage

sale.

Henry Velasquez

Get involved

with the

Friendly Frog Committee by calling 651 -

488-7390 (Lynn Byrne) or 651 -488-9671

(Kim Velasquez).

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

PAGE 5


FROGTOWN NEWS

HE'S GOT A PLAN FOR PEACE: Local peace-pole planter and community

gardener Melvin Giles has an idea for you for the New Year. Here's what

he has in mind:

"I’d love St. Paul to make a New Year’s resolution to decrease violence in

our communities. Can you imagine the positive changes in our schools

and work places?

"A New Year’s resolution with the common focus of increasing the peace

and decreasing the violence in our area would be a powerful and

intentional act of kindness and compassion. You can start by taking just

1 5 seconds a day to repeat a peace message. For example: 'May peace

prevail on my street. May peace be in my child’s school. May there be

peace in all of Frogtown and Rondo.' Each day you can add more

seconds, as well as another peace thought.

"And here is a next step — peace actions you can take: 1 ) Seek peace

within yourself and others. 2) Reach out in service. 3) Protect the

environment. 4) Respect diversity. 5) Be a responsible citizen of the

world.

"For the New Year, peace."

PAGE 6 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020



HISTORY & THE NEW ENTREPRENEURS

On Dale Street, a Somali Restaurant, Mall

A shuttered Hmong-owned bar to be replaced by Somali shops and eatery

By Jennifer Gascoigne, Patricia Ohmans

Whether you’re new to the neighborhood

or have called Frogtown home all your

life, you’ve undoubtedly passed by the

solid, two story brick building at 691 -693

Dale Street North. Home to a nearlysteady

series of stores, businesses and

bars since the turn of the last century, the

building has recently been remodeled,

and will reopen as home to Kulan Restaurant

1 , run by Mahad Aden.

Aden promises the restaurant will serve

both Somali-style and “American-style

food; both sambusas and hamburgers,” as

he puts it. A partner in the deli-style fast

food counter within the Minnehaha Mall,

Aden brings several years of experience

serving up African food, but he will be

hiring a chef as well as servers.

The restaurant will overlook Dale Street

and share parking with a similar twostory

on the southwest corner of Dale

Street and Minnehaha, which now houses

a day care center. (Both buildings are

owned by developer Daisy Haung, owner

of H86 Property Management. See page

1 0 for Haung’s perspective on the future

of Dale Street as a business and

commercial strip.)

Aden offered a walk-through of the

stylishly remodeled space in mid-

December. The ground floor dining area

Mahad Aden: putting final touches on a remake of a long-time local bar.

features high ceilings and large windows

that flood the room with light. Upstairs is

a group of rooms that Aden says will

become a Somali mall, with clothing

vendors, a henna shop, a cosmetics store

and a tutor's office, among other

businesses. He's looking at a mid-

February opening for the drastically

remodeled building.

Previously home to Malina’s Sports Bar,

the building has been a neighborhood

fixture since 1 907 (although some city

records incorrectly list 1 911 as the year it

was built.) When constructed by

prominent St. Paul brewer Jacob

Schmidt, the site encompassed three

addresses, 691 , 693 and 695 Dale.

Schmidt commissioned the building to

serve as a storefront, offices, and

residential flats. A common example of

mixed-use commercial and residential

architecture of the time, this trend has

seen a resurgence in recent decades. (A

garage that was part of the property stood

at 695 Dale and was razed in 1 963.)

Under Schmidt's ownership, the building

housed residents and offices on the upper

level, and local businesses on the main

floor, including Jacob Schmidt Brewing

Company, Hurd Realty Co. Agents,

Edgewood Dairy, and a handful of other

family concerns.

By the 1 960s, the building had been

converted into a saloon, known as the

Bourbon Bar. Remembered fondly by

locals who bowled on the bar’s league,

played for the softball team, or shot pool

there while sipping 25-cent tap beers, the

Bourbon Bar was a watering hole for the

residents of Frogtown and surrounding

neighborhoods for decades. “My mom

worked there for years, I remember Red

Clausen when he owed it. My

grandmother cooked there. That’s where I

drank all the time. I really miss that bar,”

Kathy Carroll recalled.

While the upper level of 691 -693 Dale

has housed residents since it was built, the

lower level has continuously served the

public and reflects the shifting population

of the neighborhood. By the early 2000s,

the Bourbon Bar was no more, but new

establishments now occupied the space.

Vone Health Center occupied a portion of

the building for a brief period, as well as

Malina’s Sports Bar, a popular gathering

spot for the Hmong community. Featuring

Hmong dishes including pho, chicken

— Continued, Page 12

has been published six times per year by Health Advocates Inc.

843 Van Buren Ave., St. Paul MN 551 04

and is distributed door-to-door from Lexington Parkway to 35E

and from University Avenue to Pierce Butler Route.

Publisher: Patricia Ohmans • Editor: Anthony Schmitz

651 .757.5970 • patricia.ohmans@gmail.com

651 .757.7479 • apbschmitz@gmail.com

See the current and back issues at GreeningFrogtown.com

Health Advocates also sponsors Frogtown Green, an initiative that promotes

green development to increase the health and wealth ofFrogtown residents.

PAGE 8 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


FROGTOWN'S FUTURE

WhatWillOurNeighborhoodBecome?

A baby now, 18 in 2038. Frogtowners' hopes, fears for the future that awaits her.

HOUSING

Amanda Welliver

NeighborWorks Home Partners

You’re walking down a Frogtown street

in 2038. What will you see?

According to Amanda Welliver, Frogtown

will continue to be a place where

newcomers to Minnesota get started. But

competition for housing will increase, as

our neighborhood’s easy access to both

downtowns via the Green Line and easy

freeway access will boost its appeal.

The current shortage of housing will drive

new development, and as a result, the

neighborhood will be more densely

developed, with more housing units per

block. Some of the added housing will be

accessory dwelling

units — granny

flats squeezed

alongside existing

houses. Some of

that development

will be multi-story

apartment

buildings along

the Green Line.

And some will be

due to demolition of existing single

family homes that are beyond repair and

replaced with multi-unit buildings.

A lot will depend on government policy

that could be aimed at preserving the

structural integrity and affordability of

Frogtown housing. In general, the

workforce housing built here is old, but

solid. Rehab will be more cost effective

and more resource friendly than tearing

down still-usable homes and displacing

current residents.

Affordable fix-up money is one way to

inspire investment. Building relationships

among neighbors is another. People are

more willing to invest in a community

where they feel connected to the place

and to their neighbors, said Welliver.

When people see their neighbors

undertaking a fix-up, they’re sometimes

inclined to do the same themselves. “It

can be contagious,” she said.

But housing isn’t just about housing, she

cautions. It’s also about jobs and income

that allow neighbors to invest, and that let

renters become homeowners who are

building equity, wealth, and stability in

their housing costs.

Frogtown experienced a major change

during the foreclosure crisis, when many

owner-occupied homes became rentals as

investors picked up under-valued vacant

properties. Now that they are beginning

to sell, a window is open for more resident

owners. But as the popularity ofrenting

remains high, it is hard to know ifownership

rates will return to what they once were.

AGING IN PLACE

Robert McClain

Sherburne Ave.

At the age of 70, Robert McClain is the

proud and happy owner of a Sherburne

Hibaq Ayanle Duran and dad Ayanle Aden: there's education in her future.

PARENTING & EDUCATION

Ayanle Aden

Minnehaha Ave.

Somali immigrant Ayanle Aden will tell you that he’s good right now. He’s got his wife,

three kids, a tidy apartment in the Wilder townhomes, a job, and he’s going to St. Paul

College for a public health degree. But looking at his youngest daughter, Hibaq Ayanle

Duran, he says, “I don’t want her to be as I am right now.” He has every parent’s dream

— that he’s prepared his children to do better than he did.

“So the thing I would like to see for her in 1 8 years is that she has a good education,

that she sees a good future. I want to be a good role model for her. So in 1 8 years, I

hope to own a house here in Frogtown. When kids see their parents have made progress

and are doing good in life, it is a good life for them too, a good future. After 1 8 years I

don’t want them not to know where they are heading. I want them in college or

universities. I want them to have good jobs and a good life.”

The future hinges on individual decisions, he says, but neighbors and the neighborhood

are important as well, Aden says. “If the neighborhood is violent, or not clean, or not

organized, not healthy — all those things matter a lot. They affect our health. They

affect our future.”

Ave. home. Sitting on his sun-struck

porch, he had a vision of what he hoped

the next 1 8 years might bring.

He wants what most people of his age

desire. Decent

health. Property

taxes that won’t

price him out of

his home. And

then, on a more

ethereal level, the

sense that he is

living in a

neighborhood,

and not simply

plopped down amidst a collection of

houses.

Frogtown loves to call itself diverse,

McClain observes, “but for me that

diversity is what I call surface level. If

people don’t interact with each other and

really have a sense of care for each other,

you don’t have a diverse neighborhood.

You don’t even have a neighborhood. You

just have some streets and some blocks.

People have to let down their guard —

their political, social and cultural guard

— open up to each other and share their

experience.”

How do we get there? McClain cites

examples such as the seniors’ Christmas

Party run for years by Larry and Sharon

Paulson. “That brought people together,”

he says. “But we have these rec centers

and these organizations that say they’re

about community organizing. How are

they doing that? Are they just reacting

to… stuff?”

He’s had positive experiences with recent

Kenyan neighbors who have stepped up to

help him with yard work, and a Hmong

neighbor with whom he’s traded house

keys. But at the same time he’s been

puzzled by the reaction he gets on the

street from young people. “They don’t

speak, and if you speak to them they look

at you like they wonder why you’re

speaking at all.” If the future held greater

civility, he wouldn't complain.

Like so many of his age, McClain wants

to stay in his home. To do that, he

recognizes that he’s going to need help

with snow blowing, lawn mowing and

home repairs. This is the time to develop

more support systems that make it

possible for older Frogtowners to live on

their own. As important as those basics

are, McClain kept coming back to a

central theme: living in comfortable

isolation is no solution. “If you’re sitting

in your house alone, that’s a sad affair.

You’ve got to try to get people to find a

way to enjoy each other to some degree.

That’s going to be the key thing.”

COMMUNICATION

Juan Bates

Moderator, Frogtown Neighbors

Facebook page

With co-moderator Kyle Wenzel Munoz,

Juan Bates is the guiding light on the

Frogtown Neighbors Facebook page,

which reflects the emotional contour of

our neighborhood. Post about lost cats,

shootings, break-ins, lost dogs, displays of

generosity to help people in need, angry

rants and ad hominem attacks; they’re all

part of the mix. If this is how we

communicate now, what will it look like

in 2038?

The way Bates sees it, people are still

learning how to

comport

themselves in

public. Our future

selves will have

even more ways to

share their lives

and spy on others.

The 360 degree

video of what’s

going on in our

homes, the

possibility of non-stop streaming of our

lives, the lure of posting that video of

someone outside who seems suspicious —

all of that can contribute to a blurring of

public and private life that Bates isn’t sure

everyone understands. It can breed a sense

that we’re all in this together, or fear and

anxiety over every crackle in the night.

“You can’t be suspicious of everybody

and everything that comes down the

street.”

Beyond that, Bates worries that people

don’t and won’t see the difference

between posting their opinions on social

media and participating in community life

on a face-to-face level. “The challenge, is

some people think, well, I put my message

out there and that’s all I need to do. But

no, you actually have to get out and make

people aware and understand how to get

others involved and effect change.”

A point of future danger, in Bates’ view, is

that social media allows people to put

their worst impulses on display, find

others who agree with them, and create

Jim Jones-like Kool Aid-drinking fringe

groups. “So here’s this way to

communicate and people are slowly but

surely learning how to use it to effect the

type of changes they want. Sometimes

that’s for the better. And sometimes that’s

for the worst.”

PUBLIC SAFETY

Karen Larson

Police Civilian Affairs Review

Commission Candidate

From her perch on Thomas Ave., WFNU

radio personality Karen Larson has had a

typical Frogtowner’s opportunity to

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 PAGE 9


'

develop opinions about public safety in

our neighborhood. She’s taken it a step

further than most by applying for a post

on the Police Civilian Internal Affairs

Review Commission, and signing up for

the Police Civilian Academy, a ten-week

program that aims to educate non-cops

about what cops do.

Her long view on

improving safety

and smoothing

relationships with

police: Improvements

in the next

1 8 years will rely

on maintaining

anti-poverty and

youth development

initiatives that the mayor has

recently proposed. “You’ve got to get

people to the point where they’re not

hungry, where they’re able to buy diapers

for their kids.”

Beyond that, she contends the safety

climate will improve if more cops are

flat-footing it on the street, walking a

beat and making time to know people in

the community. A double benefit would

accrue if cops lived in the neighborhood.

“If cops lived here, the interactions would

be more human to human,” says Larson.

“You know — my job is to enforce the

law, and your job is to be a law-abiding

citizen for he most part. We’re both

flawed but we can come together in our

humanity.”

“I’m hopeful things will be better 1 8

years from now. But people need to get to

know each other again. The nonprofits

need to help with that and create more

places for people to come together. Not

everyone is on social media. Not

everyone can get out to the community

forums. There has to be a welcoming

environment for everybody. If people

don’t feel welcome they’re not going to

come back.”

Larson acknowledges there’s a tension in

building a safer neighborhood. “Of course

we want Frogtown to be vibrant and

doing better, everybody having jobs. But

we also have to be careful to preserve the

history of the people, of the businesses. It

all has to have a shared meaning for

people. You don’t want it to change into

something completely different.”

DEVELOPMENT

Mike Temali, Neighborhood Development

Center

Daisy Haung, Entrepreneur

Anyone with a long memory will recall

the desolation that was University Ave. in

the 1 980s. The Avenue, once ground zero

for auto-related businesses, was

abandoned for the suburbs. White flight

helped to empty out storefronts. Salvation

came in the form ofAsian immigrants,

who filled up the underused commercial

space with mom and pop businesses.

The present is a moment when non-profit

developers have filled up University Ave.

intersections at Victoria, Dale and Western

with multi-story housing/retail structures.

Is this the direction of the future?

Mike Temali, director of the Frogtownbased

Neighbor-hood Develop-ment

Center, was a key

figure in building

Frogtown Centre

at Dale and

University, and is

now undertaking

a similar project

on the corner

across the street.

His vision of

University Ave.

1 8 years from now: more resident-owned

businesses such as hair and nail salons,

ethnic restaurants, barber shops and other

neighborhood gathering places that build a

sense of community. The key, he says, is

development that creates places where

neighbors can gather and build up a sense

of connection. The form that takes might

include more multi-story developments

with housing stacked above well-designed

retail space that offers good signage, easy

parking and meets the needs of residents.

Daisy Haung is private developer with a

somewhat different view. She and her

family are the force behind Shuang Her

market at University and Dale, plus a host

of other revived businesses in

Minneapolis and St. Paul, including,

locally, the former Malina’s Sports Bar,

the recently purchased Hot Yoga building

aat Dale and Charles, and a daycare

operation near Minnehaha and Dale, plus

the buildings that house iPho, Cha Yes

Tea and Ishita Ramen on University and

more.

In her view, the future depends on

attracting what she terms “real money” to

build up Frogtown’s business

environment. Currently the primary path

to development is nonprofits using

government and foundation money, she

says. That’s because leasing fees don’t

justify the cost of buying, renovating and

paying taxes on a local building if all the

money comes out of your for-profit’s till.

“The high-end people don’t want to spend

too much money here because it’s

Frogtown. And you can only rent it for so

much to people looking for affordable

space. The only people who can afford to

do things in the neighborhood are

nonprofits."

Her path to a positive outcome 1 8 years

from now: Cleaning up corners that attract

loitering and crime to make Frogtown

more attractive to higher-end retail, create

a better flow of public money to

entrepreneurs for upgrades of local

commercial property, and do the sort of

branding that helped turn Minneapolis’s

Eat Street into a metro-wide destination.

“Already you see more people walking on

University than you did in the past. The

Avenue could improve a lot faster with

more traffic. In five years we could see a

difference. We don’t have to wait 1 8

years.”

PAGE 1 0 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020


SAVING MONEY, LIVING WELL

Waste Reduced, Money Saved

Throwing food away? Time spent up front helps you save

conferring with Seligman, the housemates

set up a “share shelf” in their refrigerator

and pantry. This has the added benefit of

reducing confusion about leftovers and

staples; if it’s on the share shelf, it’s fair

game. If not, hands off.

The housemates also learned to make

better use of the communal freezer, by

chopping, peeling and freezing fresh

produce for later use. “You can cut most

veggies into cubes, bag, label and freeze

them,” Seligman remembers telling the

women. “Put just one or two portions in

each bag, so you’re not defrosting and

refreezing a giant bag of veggies.”

St Paul City School, a charter school in

Frogtown, was an institutional participant

in the Waste Not! program. Food waste in

school cafeterias can be a huge problem,

especially when kids are required to take

a certain number of items from the

cafeteria line, even if they don’t plan to

eat them. A version of the “Share Shelf”

works well at City School, Seligman

reports. “A kid who doesn’t want that

extra banana can set it on the share table,

and someone else who’s extra hungry can

nab it.” With the school serving three

meals per day, the savings can be great.

University of Minnesota extension

educators are working to institute even

more dramatic changes in the City School

lunchroom, through the Smarter

Lunchroom Collaborative, a program

aimed at improving school-based

nutrition. “Waste Not! connected

Extension staff with City School teachers

and the lunchroom manager,” said

Seligman. “Together, they are devising

ways to teach kids about food waste both

in class and in the cafeteria.”

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

funded the Waste Not! program for

environmental reasons, not financial ones.

Spoiled food in the garbage gives off

methane gas, which contributes to global

warming. But keeping food out of the

garbage isn’t just a way we can all address

climate change, observes coordinator

Seligman. It’s also a way to save money:

the average American household tosses

$1 ,500 worth of unused food a year.

Audrey Seligman: tricks to save money and the planet by cutting food waste.

By Patricia Ohmans

Can reducing household food waste

change your life?

If you are a member ofAyanle Aden’s

family, it already has. Aden, a participant

in ‘Waste Not,’ a project funded by the

MN Pollution Control Agency, has spent

the past year tracking just how much food

goes to waste in his family’s kitchen,

while learning ways to reduce that waste.

(The Aden family’s efforts also led to a

feature story on the TV news in

November, https://tinyurl.com/FTwaste.)

Along with fellow Frogtown residents

Diane Howard, Maya Youngman,

Elizabeth Shypulski and Kathy Yang,

Aden learned a number of tips and tricks

that have regularly put extra money in the

family’s bank account.

“Everyone who participated in the

program significantly reduced their

household food waste and decreased what

they spent on food,” reports Waste Not!

project coordinator Audrey Seligman.

“After participating for less than a year,

Ayanle said his family is spending up to

$50 less on food per week!”

Other participants have not closely

tracked their grocery bills, but all agreed

that paying attention to food waste by

planning meals, shopping wisely, cooking

the right amount of food, and storing

leftovers safely led to big changes in the

household economy, says Seligman.

For Diane Howard, the most useful tips

had to do with right-sizing meals for her

multi-generational family. “Diane said

that she used to make giant meals, and

have a lot of leftovers, which she wasn’t

in the habit of re-serving,” says

Seligman. “So lately she’s been making

smaller meals. And when she does have

leftovers, they can be shared with friends

who come over. This was especially true

over Thanksgiving.”

Howard also enjoyed being introduced to

a number of online resources for recipes

and meal planning that help reduce waste.

Recipes at savethefood.com/recipes for

dishes like “Ugly Vegetable Pasta”

“Crispy Sheet Pan Hash” and “Mashed

Potato Apple Cider Donuts” suggest

unexpected ways to use up everything

from eggplant to parmesan cheese.

Frogtown housemates and Waste Not!

participants Maya Youngman, Elizabeth

Shypulski and Kathy Yang share a

kitchen. This sharing—so common

among students and singles—can create

big food waste problems, since each

young woman buys, prepares and stores

their own groceries separately. But after

Top Tips from

Waste Not!

Participants

1. Be aware of your waste.

Collect it

The next time you clean out your

refrigerator, grab a separate container

to collect preventable food waste. For

one day, put in anything that you

intended to eat, but didn’t, like moldy

bread, spoiled fruit, and leftovers.

Don’t include inedible things like

banana peels, bones or tea bags.

Weigh it

Weigh your container on a bathroom

scale. Compost or throw out the waste

when you are done weighing it.

Compare it

The average American tosses a pound

of food a day. How does your

household measure up? How much

food waste could you reduce?

2. Plan ahead

Plan meals for a week

Make a list of ingredients you'll need

and stick to it. Use portion planners if

you’re unsure of ingredient quantities.

There’s a good planning template at

Savethefood.com/planning

Shop the fridge first

Make an inventory of ingredients

you’ve already got in the fridge and

pantry. How can they be turned into

meals? What else do you need to buy?

Think double duty

If you’ve got ingredients for Taco

Tuesday, how can you use the leftover

tacos on Wednesday? If you plan a

second meal around leftovers right

away, they won’t have time to spoil.

3. Store fresh food wisely

Rearrange the fridge

Put foods that expire first on a top

shelf or label a box “EAT FIRST” for

those items. Some fruits and veggies

go in the fridge, others, like tomatoes

and bananas, are better on the counter.

Taste before tossing

“Use by” and “sell by” dates are just

suggestions. Judge whether something

is expired by tasting a tiny bit or

smelling before discarding it.

Love those leftovers

Turn them into tomorrow’s lunch or

breakfast. Check out recipes at

Savethefood.com/recipes

3. Befriend the freezer

Freeze extra meals for another day

Prep whole meals and freeze them, so

all you have to do is heat them up

later.

Don’t scrap your scraps

Extra chopped veggies or even meats

can be used in sauces, stocks and

smoothies. Freeze them if you’re not

ready to use them now.

Use it, don’t lose it

Mark frozen items with the date.

Move your freezer contents to keep

the oldest items stay in plain sight.

Want more tips? Visit

www.pca.state.mn.us/simple-wayscut-food-waste

This story is the sixth and final installment in a sponsored series funded by MPCA and directed by Health Advocates, the Frogtown-based public health

group that publishes Greening Frogtown.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020 PAGE 1 1


GUN VIOLENCE, CONTINUED

Givens is in charge of putting together a

better system, and is looking at a roll-out

to begin in summer. So what will it look

like? For families, he imagines what he

calls “grief supportive services,” with

community health workers who meet

families in their homes. “The entire

family has to arrive at a place of healing.

There have to be opportunities to connect

to gainful employment and career

opportunities and affordable housing

that’s liveable.”

For the larger community he sees what he

calls neighborhood change agents and

violence interruptors. “We’ve got to help

the community to understand the culture

of violence, with circles and grief groups

offered in the neighborhood,” Givens

says.

An aspect of that work will be to

reconcile the conflicting stories around

violent acts. “You have a family over here

with a narrative of what happened and

over there you have a family with a whole

different narrative,” he says. Left

unresolved it’s a breeding ground for

further violence.

From his own experience in prison,

Givens sees the need for earlier

counseling and therapy for shooters. He

was 24 months out from his prison

release before he began to receive courtmandated

therapy and treatment. “But I

needed healing as soon as I went in,” he

says. In the meantime he was calling back

home with a message that was unhelpful

to all concerned. “You’ve taken a life, so

it gives you a certain kind of medal or

badge on the outside. It gives you more

influence. So I’m calling back home with

a narrative that’s broken, that lacks

healing.”

The work as Givens sees it is in

interrupting violence before cycles of

shootings and revenge become accepted

as normal behavior. “One thing that’s true

on the street level,” he says, “if you’ve

done it once it makes it easier to do a

second time.”

Local Affordable Housing Gets a Boost

The development slated for the northwest

corner of Dale and University got a boost

in November, when the city’s Housing

and Redevelopment Authority approved

an affordable housing tax credit package

that will provide the major portion of

financing for the $27 million project.

The five story building will hold retail

and office space on the lower levels, plus

40 units of housing above. Rents are

pegged to rates deemed affordable to

renters earning 30 to 60 percent of the

area median income, which is now

$1 00,000 annually for household of four.

At 30 percent, that translates to $675 a

month for a two bedroom apartment,

$1 ,1 25 at 50 percent, and $1 ,350 at 60

percent. The mix in this complex will

include 20 three bedroom units, 11 two

bedrooms, four one bedrooms, and five

efficiencies, with a pair of the two

bedroom and three bedroom units set

aside for otherwise homeless occupants.

Dirt will start flying in late sprint of

2020, says Casey Dzieweczynski of

Wellington Management, which is in

charge of the housing component of the

project. The retail portion is managed by

Neighborhood Development Center. The

building is scheduled to be completed by

fall of 2021 .

RESTAURANT, CONTINUED

feet, and sweet sticky rice with Hmong

sausage, Malina’s also offered a bar,

billiards tables, a dance floor, and Hmong

music. The interior was decorated with

murals that recalled the Laotian jungle.

In 201 4, Malina’s owner Vone Moua was

shot and killed at his bar, reportedly over

a $20 pool dispute. His killer was later

sentenced to more than 41 years. Malina’s

continued to operate under scrutiny of the

public, City Council, and law enforcement,

eventually closing for good during

the spring of 201 8.

The building sat vacant until Haung, a St.

Paul real estate agent, purchased the site

and began the process of renovating it for

restaurant space. Aden, who is leasing the

space and overseeing the interior

remodeling, will sublease the upstairs.

The building at 691 Dale Street will carry

on, in a new incarnation.

Currently un-named development on the northwest corner of Dale & University.

PAGE 1 2 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2020

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