I helped Reuters cover the Jayme Closs kidnapping case recently. Below are links to the coverage:
From the final issue of the Journal Minneapolis.
Before he began delivering newspapers nearly 25 years ago, Lyle James did janitorial work and assembled items like coloring books for a local daycare company.
That job didn’t provide much work for him during the summers, so he picked up a delivery route for the Star Tribune. Immediately, James was drawn to the independent, do-it-yourself style of the job.
“I found out I liked it so much that I just started calling around to the different papers,” he said. “Within a few years, I had dropped the job at the place that made the daycare items and went full-time with the newspapers.”
Many Cuban-Americans despise Fidel Castro. Not Felino De la Peña.
As a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee during the early 1960s, the Minnesotan marched in the streets in support of the Cuban leader.
And for that, he was jeered.
Click here for the full story, or simply listen below.
From the Santa Fe Reporter.
The demons still gnaw at Phil Parker—spectral reminders of the real-life horrors he witnessed as a daily newspaper reporter covering New Mexico politics.
So he wrote a novel about it.
The result, Parker's self-published Corruptus, is a strange mixture of the autobiographical, the satirical and the comic-book absurd, united by a scathing critique of New Mexico's power structure during the Susana Martinez era. The 259-page book, penned in fits of rage and self-reflection from a beach in Mexico, finds Parker lashing a cat o' nine tails to the entirety of our tortured state, sparing neither crooked politicians, kids in their mid-20s trying to spin the crookedness for them, or even Parker himself.
As unlikely as it may seem, Minnesota is a hotbed for organizations and people interested in improving relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tom Emmer, for example, sponsored multiple bills to end the decades-long U.S. economic embargo against the socialist island nation. Minnesota’s agricultural sector strongly backs the measures and stands to make an additional $47 million to $190 million per year in corn, soybean and dairy exports through increased trade with Cuba, according to a 2017 study from the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.
On a field outside of Worthington High School, a teenager who just came back from Guatemala for the summer asks the school district’s activities director, Josh Dale, if he can join the boys soccer team, which is gearing up for practice.
Dale gives him the rundown — he must first fill out paperwork before participating — while head coach Juan Flores tells the kid, in Spanish, to come back the next day to begin the process.
Practice is still on for this late-summer weekday afternoon, despite barely escaping a rainstorm that passed through this southern Minnesota city of 13,000 people in the last few hours. Nearly 60 teenage boys are already here, stretching and getting ready to begin. The school’s girls soccer team, of which about 50 students showed up for today, is wrapping up its practice.
Of all of the students on the field, just a sliver of them — less than half a dozen — identify as white. The vast majority are Latino, while students of Laotian, African and African-American ethnicities also make up a sizable portion.
For Greater Minnesota, this kind of racial makeup is increasingly becoming the norm. Though Worthington’s rapid pace of change may be more dramatic than most places’ — the city saw a big influx of immigrants over the past few decades thanks largely to available jobs at a nearby meatpacking plant — more and more school districts outside of the Twin Cities have become majority-minority. The state projects Minnesota’s non-white population will grow by more than half a million people over the next two decades.
From Twin Cities Daily Planet.
The heart of Sergio Choy’s job as a medical interpreter is to capture the spirit of the message between patient and medical provider.
“You hear things like, ‘I’m feeling a little blue today,’ in English, but not in other languages. You can’t feel a color in Spanish,” said Choy, who translates between English and Spanish, and says that many expressions are not easily translated from one language to another, especially those having to do with emotions.
Choy, who loves this aspect of his job, works as a freelancer at Kim Tong Translation Services located in Little Canada, and does medical interpretation at Twin Cities health clinics.
More than 200,000 people in Minnesota have limited English skills, according to the Migration Policy Institute, and the state government currently lists 3,500 active medical interpreters on its registry. Hospitals and clinics gather and maintain demographic information on their patients to determine how many medical interpreters to hire as employees or outsource.
Read the full story here.
From KFAI Radio.
A profile of Sally Sudo, who is 82, lives in Edina and spent three years of her childhood in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. Sudo talks about her experiences there, and her family’s move to Minnesota after the war.
Click here for the story or simply listen below:
In the backyard garden of a modest home on the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota, two dozen people drink mojitos and chat on a humid Sunday afternoon.
One woman dons a shirt emblazoned with Che Guevara’s image. Another man wears a shirt advertising Havana Club rum. A banner reading “End the Blockade Now” drapes the backyard fence. Below it, in smaller words, is the name of the activist group meeting here: the Minnesota Cuba Committee.
People move inside to the basement to watch a documentary about a medical school in Cuba that trains aspiring doctors from around the world free of charge. One of the speakers featured in the documentary, Gail Walker, traveled from New York to be here this afternoon as a stop along her Midwest route to raise money for a humanitarian caravan to Cuba later this year.
After the film ends, Walker, executive director of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, speaks about how her group facilitated getting 170 people from across the country medical degrees through Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine. She explains how the Cuban government is training these medical students, most of them people of color from low-income areas, to be “revolutionary doctors” who will “return to communities across the US that are in dire need of a perspective of medicine that really puts people first.”
Common carp are notorious for feeding at the bottom of lakes, tearing up aquatic plants and clouding the water, which changes ecosystems and impacts the food chain. And since no natural predators exist in Minnesota to keep the adult carp population in check, they overpopulate. “They get really big and really hearty and grow real fast,” said Anna Brown, a planner and project manager at the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District.
This summer, the watershed district and the Minnesota Invasive Aquatic Species Research Center are working to manage the carp population in Six Mile Creek, which leads to Lake Minnetonka’s Halstead’s Bay, where research found what Brown called “staggering” populations of the fish. They’ll remove adult carp; build barriers to regulate their movement; and preserve fish species that feast on carp eggs. It’ll be similar to work that’s successfully controlled the carp population in two other metro area lakes, St. Paul’s Lake Phalen and Chanhassen’s Lake Riley.
All of these efforts were mostly paid for with money out of a fund first approved by voters 30 years ago — and it’s exactly the kind of work that supporters describe as the purpose of the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which gets its money from the state lottery.
But now, for the first time in the fund’s history, the money will be used for a much more prosaic purpose: paying off debt on infrastructure projects.
From City Pages.
Historic Mounds Theatre, a movie theater and entertainment venue on St. Paul’s East Side, has long been rumored to be haunted. Three ghosts are said to reside there: Red, the theater’s longtime projectionist; Jim, who worked on the main floor as an usher; and Mary, a little girl whose apparition often appears on stage, performing for the guests.
Since the theater’s 2003 reopening, scores of paranormal investigators have visited the space. Dan Amitrano, from the Ely-based Northland Paranormal, visits on a cool summer evening with hopes of meeting Red.
A local pro wrestling league is here tonight. As athletes prepare, Amitrano walks away from the noise to the projection booth—the perfect spot to measure what paranormal investigators call “cold spots.”
Halfway through a weekend fundraising evening event at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe member Austin Arrow took the stage with several staffers from Women of Nations, a St. Paul-based shelter that houses victims of domestic violence, for a triumphant photo-op.
It was jubilant moment celebrating the success of the night — a sale of nearly 600 tickets with all proceeds going toward the nonprofit. Then Aaron Corbin came in to ruin it all.
Read the full story here.
In New Mexico, where cautionary billboards dot the landscape and headlines about drunk driving-related traffic deaths are ubiquitous, it’s always newsworthy when someone powerful gets popped for driving while intoxicated. It’s arguably more newsworthy when they get out of it.
But depending on their news sources, New Mexico residents may have come away from a recent DWI story with significantly different ideas of its importance—and wildly different understandings of the reporting that yielded it.
Read the full story here.
For more than two decades, Laura Clark has suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder. So three months ago, Dr. Gregory Simelgor hooked her to an IV in his Edina clinic for an unusual type of mental health treatment.
Over the course of two weeks, Simelgor injected Clark six times with ketamine, a drug used to anesthetize patients during surgery or other painful procedures. During infusions, Clark felt like she was floating. Sometimes, her lips and hands felt bigger than they actually were. Other times, she felt like she didn’t have hands at all. “It’s actually kind of pleasant,” she said.
For Simelgor, these sensations are a good sign: it means the ketamine is working.
Read the full story here.
From City Pages.
On the corner of Wabasha and 10th streets, a large ‘S’ accompanied by two sideways triangles leers at the downtown traffic. Underneath, bold letters spell out “Church of Scientology” on one of the prime locations in St. Paul.
When it housed the Science Museum of Minnesota, this 82,000-square-foot building served a public purpose. Today, as the biggest Scientology building in the Midwest, it’s largely empty.
On a Sunday morning, I count four people inside, apart from two friends with whom I’ve come for a tour. The unfilled rooms are notable, considering Scientology holds Sunday services.
From PRI's The World
Consuelo López de Padilla fits the profile of a doctor with top-of-the-line medical training.
She spent 15 years in her native Venezuela studying medicine and working as a doctor. In 2001, she left the Andean hills of her home country for the frigid flatlands of southern Minnesota to spend three years researching at one of the world’s most prestigious health centers, the Mayo Clinic.
But after starting a family in the US, she never returned to Venezuela. She’s also never been able to work as a doctor.
To Milagros Zegarra, the forests and lakes of Bemidji are a far cry from the bustling streets and beaches of Lima, Peru.
Zegarra spent most of her years growing up in Peru’s capital city, attending medical school and beginning her career as a doctor there. But in 2002, Zegarra came to the United States, partly to escape the instability that was then affecting her home country, and partly to take advantage of an opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art medical facility, which she did as an internal medicine resident at the sprawling Texas Medical Center in Houston.
Today, she’s a nephrologist — a kidney specialist — at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, working in a town of 14,000 people best known for its university and its statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.
Zegarra’s background may seem unique for a doctor in Greater Minnesota, but if the state’s health-care trends continue as they have been, it won’t be.