Sun Post http://post.mnsun.com Local News for Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale Minnesota Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Weapons charges filed in apartment shooting incident http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/weapons-charges-filed-in-apartment-shooting-incident/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/weapons-charges-filed-in-apartment-shooting-incident/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:00:27 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131146 Weapons possession charges have been filed against two Brooklyn Park men in connection to a Feb. 20 shooting incident at the Huntington Place apartments along the 5800 block of 73rd Avenue.

Orlando Lanell Holden Jr., 20, and Silas Phifer, 23, each face a felony charge of possession of a pistol or assault weapon by a person convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a crime of violence. Both made their first court appearances Feb. 23 in Hennepin County District Court. Bail was set at $100,000 for each man.

The shooting was reported to Brooklyn Park Police around 12:15 a.m. Feb. 20, and a female victim sustained multiple, non-life threatening gunshot wounds and was taken to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries, according to information provided by Deputy Chief Mark Bruley.

According to the complaints filed with the courts, police officers arrived to find the woman had been shot three times and lying in the hallway of the apartment building. A .357 revolver was located on the top of a second-floor deck. Police determined it had been fired multiple times. Discharged cartridge casings, from a .45-caliber weapon, were located in the hallway.

The police investigation revealed that an apartment in the building had been burglarized and a group of men, including Holden, had allegedly confronted Phifer about the incident. The confrontation resulted to both men shooting weapons and the woman was struck by three bullets. Defects in the hallway walls were consistent with two weapons being fired.

Holden has a prior juvenile adjudication for first-degree aggravated robbery and Phifer has a prior conviction for fifth-degree controlled substance.

Contact Gretchen Schlosser at gretchen.schlosser@ecm-inc.com.

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Civil rights icon Bettie Mae Fikes returns to speak to students http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/civil-rights-icon-bettie-mae-fikes-returns-to-speak-to-students/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/civil-rights-icon-bettie-mae-fikes-returns-to-speak-to-students/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:12:37 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131108 Civil rights icon Bettie Mae Fikes speaks to Armstrong High School students Feb. 24. Fikes, who has been called “The Voice of Selma,” will be at several Robbinsdale area schools this week. (Submitted photo)

Civil rights icon Bettie Mae Fikes speaks to Armstrong High School students Feb. 24. Fikes, who has been called “The Voice of Selma,” will be at several Robbinsdale area schools this week. (Submitted photo)

Bettie Mae Fikes, a civil rights icon who has been referred to as “The Voice of Selma,” recently returned to the Robbinsdale Area Schools to speak to students.

Fikes was involved in the civil rights movement while she was a high school student in Selma, Ala. She became a student leader for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at age 16 and was jailed for several weeks for protesting during the voting rights struggle in Selma in 1963. Bettie began singing with the coordinating committee’s Freedom Singers, and her passion and commitment garnered her the Long Walk to Freedom Award, as well as a letter from then-California Gov. Gray Davis, acknowledging her role in the civil rights movement.

Fikes first visited the district last year. She returned Feb. 24 to share her experiences with around 250 students at Armstrong High School.

“It started out as a civil rights struggle, but it became a human rights struggle,” Fikes told the Armstrong students. “We knew what we were fighting 50 years ago. We were fighting for the right of interstate transportation. A lot of people died for that. We fought for the right to go into a restaurant, and just be able to order a meal. We fought for that. People died for the right just to register to vote.”

Integration and Equity Program Director Marcellus Davis said he hoped that students would get an intimate account of “a freedom fighter who has helped put together mass change for America through the civil rights movement.”

“I hope that students realize that the work is not done, and that they have a role to continue working for civil rights, for human rights, for all Americans in this country today,” Davis said.

After her visit to Armstrong, Fikes spent parts of Feb. 25 at Plymouth Middle School and at a Pan-African Family Night celebration at Meadow Lake Elementary. She was also at Robbinsdale Middle School and Cooper High School for a Black History Month celebration on Feb. 26 and spent all of Feb. 27 at the West Metro Education Program.

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Wright of passage: Rebels hold of Cougars for spot in section finals http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/wright-of-passage-rebels-hold-of-cougars-for-spot-in-section-finals/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/wright-of-passage-rebels-hold-of-cougars-for-spot-in-section-finals/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 05:00:28 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131166 When a team has been rolling, injuries may become the only thing that could stand in the way.

Top-ranked Champlin Park (28-0) faced that challenge without starting guard McKinley Wright head-on with an upstart Centennial Cougars boys basketball club on Tuesday night. Wright had an ankle injury in the Rebels’ 105-48 Class 4A Section 5 quarterfinal win over Cooper on Thursday, Feb. 26, and he still had inflammation this week according to Rebels coach Mark Tuchscherer.

Moreover, Rebels sophomore post Theo John drew three fouls in the first half as the Cougars found an edge with a 34-32 halftime lead. Centennial had leads of three points down the stretch of the first half led by Tyler Peterson, who scored most of his team-high 18 points in the first half.

Tables turned quickly in the second half though as Aaron Kloeppner ignited the Rebels with two three-pointers, giving the navy-and-silver a 43-36 lead. JT Gibson scored 18 points in the half, and the unbeaten Rebels ran away for an 81-65 win.

Gibson, a Division I Nebraska-Omaha recruit, finished with 26 points. He helped the Rebels outscore Centennial 49-31 for the second half.

Marty Hill had 18 points, and Jeremy Johnson added nine. Theo John chipped in nine points despite his foul trouble. Kloeppner finished with six – all on those two threes the swung the momentum Champlin’s way.

Next, the Rebels will get another upstart team in No. 3 seed Wayzata, which ousted No. 2 Maple Grove 77-62 in shocking fashion. The Rebels and Trojans tip off for the Section 5 championship on Friday at 7 p.m. in Rogers.

 

Contact Matthew Davis at matthew.davis@ecm-inc.com

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401(k) Vs. Roth IRA http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/401k-vs-roth-ira/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/401k-vs-roth-ira/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:00:29 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=3c6c80dd17d98c9ac82c4c687d5eb7b5 Most Gen-Yers don’t know what types of retirement accounts to start with. I break down the pros and cons of two most popular ones - 401(k) and the Roth individual retirement account - to help you decide which is right for you.

With the decline of company pensions and uncertainty about the future of Social Security, young adults’ retirement plans will look different than those of their parents and grandparents. Your own saving and investing options determine your financial security when you stop actively earning an income.

What is the right place to set aside and invest your money for retirement? Both the 401(k) and Roth IRA are useful, popular retirement vehicles. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored plan that allows savers to defer taxes to a later date. If your employer offers one, it works like this:

You sign up for it and choose your investments from the options available. Then, your employer redirects money from your paycheck to your 401(k) before paying federal income tax on the money. The money is tax-deferred, meaning it does not count as your taxable income for the year. For 2015, you can put up to $18,000 of pre-tax money into your 401(k).

Also, employers often match your contribution up to a certain percentage of your total salary. This percentage usually ranges from 3% to 6%, and the full match can vary. This is like getting free money from your employer. Contribute at least enough to secure that match.

Because you didn’t pay income tax when you contributed, you pay when you withdraw. If you take out the money permanently before you turn 59½, you pay a 10% penalty in addition to the income tax on the withdrawals.

A Roth IRA lets you withdraw funds at retirement age without any additional taxes, because unlike with the 402(k), you pay them upfront. Here’s how it work:

You set up a Roth IRA with an investment manager of your choice. You take your after-tax money from your bank account and deposit it in the plan on your own. Your employer has no connection with your IRA.

In 2015, you can contribute $5,500 to your Roth IRA. However, there are income limits. If you make more than $116,000 as an individual or $183,000 as a married couple, you can’t contribute as much – or at all.

Because you paid taxes on the contributions already, you can withdraw them without taxes or penalties at any time. This gives you flexibility if you’re in a cash crunch. When you reach 59½ (and you have the account for five years), you can withdraw all the money, including years of gains, tax-free.

A 401(k) is great if:

  • Your employer matches your savings.
  • You want to lower your taxable income now.
  • You make too much money to contribute to a Roth IRA.
  • You struggle to save without automatic payroll deductions.
  • Your retirement income will be less than your current income. If you think this is case, you pay less in taxes by deferring them until retirement.

A Roth IRA is for you if:

  • Your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k).
  • You want more investment options than your 401(k) provides.
  • You want your savings to grow tax-free.
  • You want more flexibility in accessing your own contributions.
  • Your retirement income will be more than your current income. If you believe that will happen, you pay less in taxes by paying them now rather than in retirement.

Both plans offer great tax advantages for saving for retirement. Evaluate your personal situation to determine which is the best for you. Better yet, save a bit in each to take advantage of both types of accounts.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, is the founder of Workable Wealth, an RIA in San Diego. She is a writer, speaker and financial coach who is passionate about working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s to help them organize and gain confidence in their financial lives. She has been quoted or featured in various industry publications on the local and national level. You can find her on Twitter at @marybstorj.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Most Gen-Yers don’t know what types of retirement accounts to start with. I break down the pros and cons of two most popular ones - 401(k) and the Roth individual retirement account - to help you decide which is right for you.

With the decline of company pensions and uncertainty about the future of Social Security, young adults’ retirement plans will look different than those of their parents and grandparents. Your own saving and investing options determine your financial security when you stop actively earning an income.

What is the right place to set aside and invest your money for retirement? Both the 401(k) and Roth IRA are useful, popular retirement vehicles. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored plan that allows savers to defer taxes to a later date. If your employer offers one, it works like this:

You sign up for it and choose your investments from the options available. Then, your employer redirects money from your paycheck to your 401(k) before paying federal income tax on the money. The money is tax-deferred, meaning it does not count as your taxable income for the year. For 2015, you can put up to $18,000 of pre-tax money into your 401(k).

Also, employers often match your contribution up to a certain percentage of your total salary. This percentage usually ranges from 3% to 6%, and the full match can vary. This is like getting free money from your employer. Contribute at least enough to secure that match.

Because you didn’t pay income tax when you contributed, you pay when you withdraw. If you take out the money permanently before you turn 59½, you pay a 10% penalty in addition to the income tax on the withdrawals.

A Roth IRA lets you withdraw funds at retirement age without any additional taxes, because unlike with the 402(k), you pay them upfront. Here’s how it work:

You set up a Roth IRA with an investment manager of your choice. You take your after-tax money from your bank account and deposit it in the plan on your own. Your employer has no connection with your IRA.

In 2015, you can contribute $5,500 to your Roth IRA. However, there are income limits. If you make more than $116,000 as an individual or $183,000 as a married couple, you can’t contribute as much – or at all.

Because you paid taxes on the contributions already, you can withdraw them without taxes or penalties at any time. This gives you flexibility if you’re in a cash crunch. When you reach 59½ (and you have the account for five years), you can withdraw all the money, including years of gains, tax-free.

A 401(k) is great if:

  • Your employer matches your savings.
  • You want to lower your taxable income now.
  • You make too much money to contribute to a Roth IRA.
  • You struggle to save without automatic payroll deductions.
  • Your retirement income will be less than your current income. If you think this is case, you pay less in taxes by deferring them until retirement.

A Roth IRA is for you if:

  • Your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k).
  • You want more investment options than your 401(k) provides.
  • You want your savings to grow tax-free.
  • You want more flexibility in accessing your own contributions.
  • Your retirement income will be more than your current income. If you believe that will happen, you pay less in taxes by paying them now rather than in retirement.

Both plans offer great tax advantages for saving for retirement. Evaluate your personal situation to determine which is the best for you. Better yet, save a bit in each to take advantage of both types of accounts.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP, is the founder of Workable Wealth, an RIA in San Diego. She is a writer, speaker and financial coach who is passionate about working with individuals and couples in their 20s and 30s to help them organize and gain confidence in their financial lives. She has been quoted or featured in various industry publications on the local and national level. You can find her on Twitter at @marybstorj.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Boganey: 2015 to be a ‘banner year’ for Brooklyn Center http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/boganey-2015-to-be-a-banner-year-for-brooklyn-center/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/boganey-2015-to-be-a-banner-year-for-brooklyn-center/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:11:57 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131158 Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey addresses members of the Brooklyn Center Business Association on the state of the city during the association’s Feb. 26 meeting at the Doubletree Hotel. (Sun Post staff photo by Christiaan Tarbox)

Brooklyn Center City Manager Curt Boganey addresses members of the Brooklyn Center Business Association on the state of the city during the association’s Feb. 26 meeting at the Doubletree Hotel. (Sun Post staff photo by Christiaan Tarbox)

The February luncheon for the Brooklyn Center Business Association received a special visit from Brooklyn Center’s city manager, who had nothing but high hopes for the city in the coming year.

Curt Boganey was the featured speaker for the business association’s Feb. 26 meeting at the Brooklyn Center Doubletree, where he presented the state of the city, as well as the improvements Brooklyn Center made during 2014 and the good things to come in 2015.

“In 2014, the city was involved in a number of civic engagement activities,” said Boganey. “A delegation of individuals including myself … went to Lofa County, which is part of Liberia. We did that in response to a request from the vice president of Liberia to establish a sister-city relationship. We spent a little more than a week in January of 2014 building those relationships.”

After the outbreak of the Ebola crisis in West African nations in the spring, Brooklyn Center maintained deep ties with the city’s immigrant population to address the calamity and do whatever it could to help.

“The first county in Liberia where it became significant was in Lofa County,” said Boganey. “The city has always been involved with the task force comprised of leaders of various West African organizations to work on addressing the Ebola crisis in Liberia.”

On the law enforcement side, Brooklyn Center continues its association with the multi-city Joint Community Police Partnership, which aims to create a communicative bridge between citizens and police.

“We continue to use that to build relationships with the police and the community, particularly members of our immigrant community,” said Boganey. “We’ve also been involved in a variety of collaborative efforts with Brooklyn Park, Richfield and Hennepin County this past year. A delegation from Denmark visited Brooklyn Center to look at the success we’ve had through the Joint Community Police Partnership, and our police chief, Kevin Benner, spent a week overseas sharing information that he learned as a result of the JCPP.”

Leadership and alliances

One initiative that’s kicking off this year in Brooklyn Center is its leadership academy-style Brooklyn Center University, an eight-week program for applicants to learn about the behind-the-scenes environment of local government. The inaugural program starts this month.

“We’re looking forward to that,” said Boganey. “This was something that Councilmember (Lin) Myszkowski brought to the city council. She heard about it from other communities that had done it … and we’re really excited about this initial opportunity to help build, attract and facilitate leadership in the community.”

Boganey also mentioned the success of the Brooklyn Bridge Alliance, a partnership between Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park that focused on empowering local youth in finding education, learning valuable life skills and securing a successful career upon adulthood. Last year, the alliance was part of a youth employment program that received a $250,000 grant from sources, including the city of Brooklyn Center. The program taught work and life skills to local teenagers, as well as providing internship opportunities.

“This joint partnership between the city of Brooklyn Park and the city of Brooklyn Center … is focused on making sure that every young person in the cities have an opportunity to grow, thrive and develop,” said Boganey. “They would be able to graduate from high school and have the skills that are necessary to be successful in their lives.”

Business and safety

One longtime Brooklyn Center project will see major progress and possibly even completion in 2015. The Civic and Memorial Amphitheater project for Centennial Park, which was launched during Brooklyn Center’s centennial, has been mainly funded by private donations, but is ever closer to breaking ground.

“After a few fits and starts, the city council did in fact approve a contract with Custom Builders, who will be constructing the Civic and Memorial Amphitheater in Centennial Park,” said Boganey. “The city has provided some seed funds in order to keep the project moving forward. We’re very excited, and we’re anticipating that that project will be completed before National Night Out of this year.”

In addition to the amphitheater, Brooklyn Center’s other major project in the Shingle Creek Crossing shopping area will see increasing expansion this year. The former Brookdale Mall site will soon include Discount Tire, Aspen Dental, Michaels, T.J. Maxx and Sally Beauty Supply among their list of tenants. Boganey also mentioned that the development company could be close to reaching an agreement that would repurpose the former Kohl’s building.

“I would say, from all indications, this is going to be a banner year for Shingle Creek Crossing,” said Boganey. “When we look back at the development a year from now, we probably won’t recognize it from all the activity that’ll be going on.”

Public safety, said Boganey, would have been counted as one of the strategic priorities of the city council in years’ past.

“I remember someone saying then that we have this issue related to crime and the perception of crime, and we somehow had to let people know there’s not a lot of crime in Brooklyn Center,” said Boganey. “Someone said that one of the ways to change the perception is change the reality. What I’m very pleased to say is that over the last few years, the reality about crime in Brooklyn Center has changed for the better dramatically.”

According to Boganey, “part one” violent crimes have decreased in Brooklyn Center since 2007 and a 24 percent decrease in 2014 from 2013 alone. Boganey said that crime rates are the lowest they’ve ever been since 1999.

“The reality is that both the perception and the reality now are the same,” said Boganey. “The reality is that there’s been a significant change and significant improvement as it relates to crime. Even though we’re only two months into the year, overall, part one crimes are trending 25 percent below what they were in 2014.”

For the city’s infrastructure, the largest topic on Brooklyn Center’s plate is the upcoming, $20 million water treatment plant to address rising levels of iron and manganese in the city’s aquifer.

“The council decided that they would bite the bullet and build a new water treatment plant,” said Boganey. “That cost will be reflected in an increase in utility rates, even though we’re borrowing the money for 20 years at 1 percent a year. So people will see a bump in their water rates, but not only does it eliminate the iron and the manganese issues, it also puts the city in a great position to respond to any future contaminants that may occur.”

Overall, Boganey had a very optimistic outlook for Brooklyn Center this year.

“I think that I can say without exaggeration, we’ve seen a lot of good years over the last five, seven, eight years, but I don’t think you’ve seen anything yet,” said Boganey. “I think 2015, 2016 and 2017 will exceed what we’ve seen over the last several years in keeping Brooklyn Center as a great place to start and a great place to stay.”

Contact Christiaan Tarbox at christiaan.tarbox@ecm-inc.com or follow the Sun Post on Twitter @ecmsunpost.

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Docudrama filmed in New Hope features Park Center alum http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/docudrama-filmed-in-new-hope-features-park-center-alum/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/docudrama-filmed-in-new-hope-features-park-center-alum/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:43:29 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131156 It was Aug. 1, 2007. Downtown Minneapolis was swarming with traffic as business men and women headed home during rush hour.

Suddenly, the eight-lane bridge traveling over the Mississippi River gave way collapsing into the water below, killing 13 people and injuring 145.

It is stories of events like this that Committee Films, an Eden Prairie-based production company, is sharing with the nation beginning Friday, March 6.

The seven-episode docudrama series “In An Instant” tells the story of seven life-threatening events from the perspective of its survivors.

Half interviews, half reenactments, each episode will carry you through the details of each catastrophic event.

One of Committee Films episodes, “Rush Hour Disaster,” features a Park Center alum and was partially filmed in New Hope.

The production company took advantage of the former Kmart parking lot in September 2014, prior to Hy-Vee’s groundbreaking. The cracked pavement and loose rubble provided the perfect set for filming the scene of the incident.

The crew spent two days filming the immediate aftermath of the collapse before leaving for its next location.

Within nine months Committee Films took an idea pitched by ABC and turned it into an intriguing television series.

If the series does well, Committee Films will be back for a second season.

Each episode will air 8-10 p.m. Saturdays, March 7 through April 11, on ABC with the first episode airing 8-10 p.m. Friday, March 6.

Episodes:

  • “Alaskan Wilderness Plane Crash” – While on an Alaskan adventure the Evans family’s plane flew straight into a mountain after emerging from a thick fog. With the pilot and a passenger dead, the family figured out how to stay alive until help came.
  • “Rush Hour Disaster – Largest Bridge Collapse in America” – An interstate bridge carrying hundreds of people collapse during rush hour traffic Aug. 1, 2007. Among the survivors was a woman trapped underwater in her car and a bus full of kids stuck next to a burning bread truck.
  • “Grizzly Bear Attack” – During a father-daughter hike in Glacier National Park, the duo came across a grizzly bear.
  • “Left for Dead” – The story of a woman who was beaten, thrown in a garbage can and locked in a storage unit in the middle of winter lived to tell the tale.
  • “Bad guys at the Good Guys” – The tale of a hostage situation at an electronic store.
  • “Buried Alive” – A man was buried in a grain bin in Iowa where the grain acts as quick sand and quickly kills those who fall in.
  • “Shootout” – The story of a police officer-involved shootout in Florida.

Info: committeefilms.com or abc.com.

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Alexandria – A Destination for Play http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/alexandria-a-destination-for-play/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/alexandria-a-destination-for-play/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:00:04 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131154 Alexandria_900x200_3

Recognized as one of the 10 best small towns in America, Alexandria is a great destination for play, play and more play. A charming small town blend of trendy, eclectic shops and restaurants surrounded by beautiful lakes and natural beauty, it’s no wonder that the Alexandria area has become such a popular place to visit… and even stay.

Alexandria_900x200_2

For fishing and boating enthusiasts, you’re at lake country’s front door with 300 lakes nearby. Or while the family’s on the water, stroll Alexandria’s boutiques and museums or even visit a winery. Visit DestinationUpNorth.com to see some of the best in the area.

Of course an area that boasts a native such as Tom Lehman knows how to do golf right but there is so much more to do in the area as well. Bike the Central Lakes and the Lake Wobegon Trails. If you’re looking for a little more speed, the area has multiple motor sports/marine dealers to get you the right equipment at the right price.

Alexandria_900x200_1
Visit Inspiration Peak which Sinclair Lewis once called one of the best sights in the state. Or take in summer stock theatre at Theatre L’Homme Dieu.

Just two hours up 94, the Alexandria area, your year-round getaway, is beckoning.

For more Northern Minnesota Destinations, visit DestinationUpNorth.com.

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Three business developments receive Brooklyn Park council approval http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/three-business-developments-receive-brooklyn-park-council-approval/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/three-business-developments-receive-brooklyn-park-council-approval/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:00:16 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131138 Three business development projects received approvals by the Brooklyn Park City Council at its Feb. 23 meeting, which included the announcement that Design Ready Controls is the company relocating to the Capstone Quadrangle development near the intersection of 93rd Avenue North and Highway 169.

Design Ready Controls is the largest supplier of HVAC controls in the world and is expanding into solar and lighting controls, according to Michael Faber, developer of the Capstone project.

“This a very high-tech company,” Faber told the council, adding that the company has manufacturing facilities in Rockford, Minn., and offices in Minneapolis. The 94,300 square foot Brooklyn Park office, warehouse and manufacturing building will become the company headquarters. The company has four other facilities around the country.

Faber estimated that about 100 to 120 employees will work in the new building.

The development includes expansion space for the growing company, Faber said. The development plans could allow up to three buildings on the site, which runs from Highway 169 to Winnetka Avenue.

The council’s approvals included the first reading of rezoning for the project, with the second reading planned for March 2 meeting, and approval of the site plan for the development.

The city council also approved the site plan for the North 169 Business Center, a 145,840 square foot multi-tenant business park building for offices, warehousing and light manufacturing at 8400 Wyoming Avenue North. The building, developed by Opus, will be orientated so truck traffic to the facility will be away from residential neighbors and toward the neighboring Fleet Farm, according to Cindy Sherman, city planning director.

The council also approved changes to the city’s comprehensive plan and rezoning for the NorthPark Business Center, which is being developed by Scannell Properties on 227 acres of land owned by the Harstad family and bounded by Highway 169, 109th Avenue, Winnetka Avenue and the Three Rivers Regional Trail Corridor.

The comprehensive plan change removes plans for medium-density residential housing and commercial development on the site and makes almost all of the site into business park land, except for a small parcel near the trail corridor, which will become park land.

The rezoning moves the property from urban reserve to business park with planned development, Sherman said. The second reading of the rezoning will come later after the developers petition the city for extension of water and sewer utilities to the site.

Because the water access at Winnetka Avenue and Oxbow Creek Drive and the sanitary sewer at 101st Avenue are available at the south end of the property, development will likely be there first, according to Martin Harstad, a representative of the family that owns the property.

The Harstads have recently teamed up with Scannell, he said, and they are working on what could be years of development on the site. The plans call for as many as 17 buildings on the 227-acre site.

“The project will be a long project,” Harstad told the council, and the project will focus on attracting companies that have more than a few workers in the buildings. “We have no intention to put distribution in there. This is jobs-driven.”

A previous proposal for the site for a FedEx shipping location was denied by the city because it did not provide enough jobs.

Harstad also said that he hopes site preparation dirt work could begin this summer on the southern portion of the site. There is interest from businesses in the location, he said.

Contact Gretchen Schlosser at gretchen.schlosser@ecm-inc.com.

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CEAP campaign asks to go ‘beyond the barrel’ for food donations http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/ceap-campaign-asks-to-go-beyond-the-barrel-for-food-donations/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/ceap-campaign-asks-to-go-beyond-the-barrel-for-food-donations/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:00:12 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131143 The Community Emergency Assistance Programs are asking community members and businesses to join in friendly competition to raise food and monetary donations during the annual March Against Hunger campaign.

The competition features Dill, the pickle, who represents the grocery team and Giggles, the purple guy, who represents the dollar team. Both of the stuffed-toy mascots will star in a social media campaign to raise awareness of hunger issues during March, according to Jill Pettit, director of development for CEAP.

The program’s goal is to raise 200,000 pounds of food and $200,000 in March, a slight increase from last year’s goals in the annual campaign. A portion of every dollar and pound raised by CEAP is matched by Minnesota FoodShare and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Pettit said.

CEAP has offices in Brooklyn Center and Blaine and has a variety of programs that serve people in need in Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Champlin and all of Anoka County. The food shelf serves 900 families per month, giving an average of 17 pounds of food to each person in the families. About 60 percent of that food is fresh items like fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products that CEAP gets from food rescue operations and local retailers.

“We need the community’s help to reach the goals,” Pettit said, noting that while the food rescue operations supply the needed fresh foods, the community support is needed to stock the pantry items at the food shelf. Those items include boxed dinners, canned goods, cereal, pasta, rice, sugar, flour and oil. Also accepted during March and any time through the year are household items, such as dog food, cat litter, detergent and toilet paper and personal care items.

The social media campaign, follow @CEAP_MN on Twitter and facebook.com/CEAP.MN on Facebook to get updates, statistics and encouragement from Dill and Giggles, will be part of an awareness effort that includes a wide variety of activities and opportunities for the community to give. CEAP is encouraging businesses or organizations to go “beyond the barrel” and have competitions and make sculptures with their food donations. The winning sculpture, as chosen from photos posted to social media, could win a prize, Pettit said.

CEAP will also host “Feed the Need” events Saturday, March 28 at area grocery stores, working with the retailers to help community members give food donations to fill the program’s trucks at the stores.

There will also be collection points at the city halls of each community and at churches throughout the CEAP area, Pettit said. Excitement is building for the annual campaign, she added.

“We can’t wait to rally the community and be out in the community,” she said.

The food shelf gives 1.3 million pounds of food to individuals and families in need each year and also supports the No Hassles food shelf for homeless youth. The need for food has grown significantly in the last seven years.

The tough economic times since 2008 have increased demand for CEAP’s food shelf from 600,000 up to 1.3 million last year.

“We only expect the demand to increase,” Pettit said.

For more information about the CEAP campaign and volunteer opportunities, contact Pettit at jill.pettit@ceap.com or 763-450-3664.

Contact Gretchen Schlosser at gretchen.schlosser@ecm-inc.com.

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A first for FAIR http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/a-first-for-fair/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/03/a-first-for-fair/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:43:32 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=131119 Students from the West Metro Education Program’s Fine Arts Interdisciplinary School recently advanced to the Minnesota state tournament for their one act play performance. (Sun post staff photo by Valory Schoenecker)

Students from the West Metro Education Program’s Fine Arts Interdisciplinary School recently advanced to the Minnesota state tournament for their one act play performance. (Submitted photo)

By Valory Schoenecker

Murphy News Service

West Metro school sends first-ever team to state competition

When 10 students from the downtown Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource school won the section title for their one-act play, it was not just a victory for the drama department.

“We’re the first team for our school to ever go to state so that was a big deal for us,” said Henry Husbands, a ninth grader who acted in the play.

This first place award advanced the actors to the state level; a destination no other club or sports team from the FAIR school has ever gone before.

Part of the West Metro Education Program, The FAIR School has two campuses, one in Crystal and one in downtown Minneapolis. The school focuses on integrating arts with academics, while emphasizing cultural relevance and the importance of understanding social issues.

One of the ways the school places a spotlight on arts is by partnering with professional arts organizations in the Twin Cities community. Through this partnership, arts professionals work full-time at the FAIR school but are actually employed by an outside arts organization, like the Stages Theatre in Hopkins, which employs the director of this one-act play.

The play titled “15 Neo Futurist Plays From: Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” was inspired by a weekly show in Chicago and New York where actors perform 30 skits in 60 minutes. Since the FAIR school only had 35 minutes to perform, the students produced a shortened version, performing 15 skits in 30 minutes, with five minutes for an introduction and conclusion.

Andre Samples, the director of the FAIR school’s play, said that the theatre company that performs these weekly shows has published over 600 different skits. Samples and his co-director, Nikki Swoboda, sat down over the summer and read through each skit. Samples said that since the plays are performed in adult theatre, some of the skits are inappropriate for a high school setting so that made the search a little easier.

Eventually Samples and Swoboda narrowed the options down to 21 skits going into the rehearsal process, where the cast decided together which 15 they wanted to perform.

“We wanted to cast an ensemble and then find out what resonated with them,” Samples said. “So we didn’t go into auditions casting people for particular roles, we were just casting a group.”

Samples said that when doing the plays in random order, it presents a challenge because the actors can’t rehearse the transitions. The order is different every single time.

In the Chicago version of the play, the audience is given a list of plays and shouts the name of the play they want the actors to perform next. But for the FAIR school, the competition guidelines stated that audience interaction is not allowed. To keep the plays in random order, Samples decided to assign one student to pull numbers out of a bingo machine at the transition point between each act.

Samples had to stress the urgency of the transition period between skits. He needed the actors to move as quickly as possible so they didn’t waste time setting up props or wondering where to go.

“After the end of each play everybody would come out on stage and as soon as that play was heard, they would immediately go to their spots or go backstage,” Samples said. “It’s by nature a little chaotic, but that’s part of the show.”

The skits range from a variety of different topics from gay rights to domestic violence.

“We wanted to create a balance so that you’re getting a lot of different things. Some are serious, some are funny, some are gonna make you think. Some are gonna make you laugh. But each of them is challenging the convention of theater itself,” Samples said.

Husbands said that performing these short plays opened his eyes to social issues like racial and gender equality. “I think it’s really important for people of all ages, especially of our age group, to know important stuff about society,” Husbands said.

Husband’s father, Simon Husbands, said that the play was different than any other he’s seen. He said the play had a lot of energy, a lot of humor, and it looked like the kids were having a fun time.

“It was a very good experience for me as a parent. I felt very proud of Henry and the school,” Simon said.

After placing first in their sub-section and first in their section, advancing to state did not mean advancing to another competition. Rather, the schools who advanced to state simply showcased their play, got critiqued from judges and had the opportunity to gain further recognition.

“Everybody performs and then at the end of the day, they either get a starred performance or they don’t,” Samples said. “Everybody got here, they were able to get the opportunity to perform and do what they’re doing and so I think the starred performance is just a way of noting things they thought was exemplary.”

“For me the idea of theatre as competition is a weird thing. It’s not a basketball game where one team scores more points. That’s just not the basis of it,” said Samples. “Theatre is a very subjective thing. It’s something you either enjoy or you don’t and I can’t create the idea of trying to find something that will ‘win,’ I just have to do something that will be enjoyable for myself and, most importantly, enjoyable for the students.”

Although the FAIR school did not earn a starred performance at state, the school’s focus on fine arts is unique and prosperous.

“I like going to FAIR because I have the opportunity to act and perform in ways I never could at my old school,” said Husbands whose love for drama began when his favorite childhood activity was playing pretend.

The Cast includes 10 members of the FAIR school:

Savannah Halcomb – 12th grade

•Xavier Heim – 12th grade

•Noah Brummer – 11th grade

•Caid Goodwin – 11th grade

•Elijah Meeks -11th grade

•Kieran Morris – 11th grade

•Sophie McGrill – 10th grade

•Henry Husbands – 9th grade

•Shaunassey Johnson – 9th grade

•Elizabeth Thorson – 9th grade

The crew includes:

•Kyle Smeaton – 12th grade

The plays and authors are:

•“The Art of Acting,” by Greg Allen

•“Between the Lines in 4/4 Time,” by Dave Awl. This is the play about the man remembering dancing with his friend.

•“Black History Play,” by Chloe Johnston

•“Black-Eyed Susans,” by Ayun Halliday. This is the play about seeing 3 women with black eyes.

•“Danger Can!! (The Musical)” by Greg Kotis. This is about a someone rolling a can towards another person’s foot.

•“80 Irving Pk Rd,” by Dave Awl

•“Having Missed Its Cue, the Orange Entered Hurriedly. But Once on Stage It Found That It Had Forgotten Its Lines Entirely and Remained Paralyzed Before the Audience for What Seemed Like and Eternity,” by Greg Kotis

•“How To Build A House of Cards,” by Justin Tolley

•“ididitididitididit,” by Geryll Robinson

•“I Want You,” by Greg Kotis

•“Nothing,” by Scott Hermes

•“Red Light, Green Light,” by Lisa Buscani

•“Revolution,” by Greg Allen. This is the play about a couple fighting, but its written out of sequence.

•“Songs of Inanimate Objects,” by Diana Slickman

•“White Liberal Guilt Made You Choose This Play,” by Desiree Burch

 

Valory Schoenecker is an intern studying journalism at the University of Minnesota.

 
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