Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Major Homeless Veterans Photo Exhibit Coming to Duluth

A toothless smile, a makeshift bed in the backseat of a car. A husband and wife perched on the edge of a bed at a homeless shelter in Duluth. These are some of the powerful images of under-housed United States veterans featured in the new photography exhibit Portraits of Home II: Veterans in Search of Shelter opening April 1st though the 23rd 2009 at the Depot in Duluth.

Portraits of Home II is the sequel to Portraits of Home: Families in Search of Shelter. Created by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, the Portraits of Home exhibit documents the lives of homeless and precariously housed children, families, and individuals in Greater Minnesota. Each photograph helps personalize the human impact that poor housing conditions and homelessness has on families and communities. Through the lens of 6 award-winning Minnesota photojournalists, the images capture the dignity and resiliency of people managing everyday life with few resources and the positive changes that can occur with safe, stable and affordable housing.

The deeply personal stories documented in Portraits of Home II illustrate that the places where veterans in Minnesota seek shelter too often fall short of what most of us would wish for those who have given up so much to serve our country. Veterans across Minnesota too often depend on insufficient housing that ranges from rented homes and borrowed couches to steam tunnel squats and abandoned automobiles. Homeless veterans are disproportionately people of color. 13% have children who are also homeless. On any given night, over 600 veterans are homeless in Minnesota and unfortunately this number is steadily on the rise.

While the focus of the photographs in the Portraits of Home II exhibit is veterans, we are reminded that there are thousands of other homeless men, women, and children in Minnesota. On any given night, over 9,000 children, youth, and adults are homeless in Minnesota. Every night, over 1,000 people are turned away from shelters due to lack of space. The stories featured in the exhibit reflect the larger homeless experience in Minnesota. Like the larger homeless population, homeless families are both young and old and with or without children. Some suffer with chemical dependency issues, mental illnesses, and physical disabilities. Some have full-time jobs and some are unable to find steady work. Some have been homeless for years, while others have only recently been forced to hit the streets. The heart touching stories documented in the exhibit remind us that all should have access to safe, decent and affordable housing.

The aim of the Portraits of Home II exhibit is twofold: to raise awareness of housing issues in Greater Minnesota and to spur citizens to take action. You are invited to join with government, civic, faith-based, business, and community groups that have banded together to end homelessness in Minnesota. Every year scores of community leaders throughout Minnesota work to construct and rehabilitate hundreds of affordable homes in Greater Minnesota. This good work stabilizes both families as well as communities. While it is the hope of every family to live in a safe, decent and affordable home, much remains to be done.


In what will be the first formal City Council announcement of the campaign year, neighborhood activist and nurse practitioner Patrick Boyle will announce his candidacy for the 2rd District Duluth City Council seat currently held by outgoing councilor Greg Gilbert. Boyle will announce his candidacy on Thursday, March 12 at 11:00 A.M. at the Mt. Royal Branch Library.
“We almost lost the Mt. Royal Library because of the hard financial times,” explained Boyle. “Though we face difficult times in our city, as we do in our nation, I am determined that we not lose the community assets that bind us together, give our children opportunities, and make Duluth unique.”

The son of former Wisconsin state assemblyman Frank Boyle, the 35 year old Patrick Boyle grew up just outside Superior. “In my family, public service was a way of life,” he stated. “I’ve tried hard to live up to that ideal.” Boyle is a nurse practitioner with the Fond Du Lac Band of Ojibwe and lives with his wife Jennifer and daughter Mary in the Congdon neighborhood of Duluth’s second district. A full biography and formal statement will be provided at the announcement.

For more information on his candidacy, call Patrick Boyle at 728-4185.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Gloria Dei studies scripture, Natural Step as a guide

“God’s Creation and The Natural Step” is the theme for faith discussions on Wednesdays during Lent at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6th Ave. E. and 3rd St.
Each week reflections will be guided by Scripture and information from The Natural Step, a framework for understanding environmental sustainability. The classes are. on Wednesdays beginning March 4 through April 1. 5:45 p.m. - soup supper, 6:15 p.m. discussion time. Worship: 7 to 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. All are welcome.

March is colorectal cancer awareness month

By Carolyn Dillman RN, BSN, PHN

Colorectal cancer is any cancer affecting the colon and/or rectum. It is the third most common cancer in the United States.
Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer may include: changes in bowel patterns, blood in stool or dark stools, abdominal pain and bloating, constipation, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Screening for colorectal cancer generally starts at 50. It may start earlier if you have family history.
There are several tests used for screening this type of cancer, the first is called a colonoscopy. This is a test which can detect polyps, which can be cancerous. Polyps can easily be removed during a colonsocopy. Barium enemas are used in conjunction with X-Rays. They allow doctors to better visualize the colon and can also detect blockages in the colon. The last test is a fecal occult blood test. This test can check for blood in stool samples.
If you have any questions about colorectal cancer screening and/or signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer ask your primary care provider. Remember....early detection saves lives.

Crime prevention: Building neighborhoods one cookie at a time

Following an old Minnesota tradition of greeting your neighbors with a gift of food, over 75 participants at the January City-Wide Crime Prevention meeting decided to step up to take home plates of home made cookies to “pass them on” and get to know their neighbors.
Volunteers started baking and donated 51 dozen homemade cookies (that’s 612 cookies!) The cookies were placed by the dozen on china and glass plates that were either donated, or purchased for under 50 cents each through the support of local business owner Barb Seaman of Seaman’s Variety in West Duluth.
The “Cookie Patrol” will continue throughout March and April with prizes awarded at the April meeting for the residents who meet the most new neighbors.
March’s City-Wide Crime Prevention meeting will be held on Thurs., March 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Holy Family Church.
For more information contact Debbie Isabell Nelson – NHS Neighborhood Coordinator at 727-8604 ext. 12.

How to help friends in abusive relationships

Ed Heisler, Community Education Coordinator, Safe Haven Shelter gives this advice.
Friends or family members who are being abused:
-Call police if you see/hear abuse.
-Explain that free and confidential help is available for victims and their children at local domestic violence programs.
-Offer a ride to a local shelter, a place to make a phone call, or to baby-sit while they attend an appointment.
Friends of family members who are abusers:
-Call police if you see/hear abuse.
-Tell them there is no excuse for abuse, and they may lose their family, friends, home, and job if this does not stop.
-Hold them accountable for their behavior, and support their efforts to locate and obtain batter intervention treatment.
Other ways to help:
-Volunteer your time to local domestic violence programs.
-Make monetary donations, or donate phone cards, gift certificates, old cell phones, bus tickets, etc.
-Offer to board pets while victims are in shelter.
-Sponsor a family for a holiday, gifts, etc.
-Contact program staff to learn more about the many ways you can help.
Heisler also tells groups of listeners that one should lend a listening ear, guide her to community services, help the battered woman to focus on her strengths and skills, and help her make a safety plan as well as finding a safe place.
It is important to use positive statements with the victim such as, “I am sorry this is happening to you,” “You don’t deserve to be abused,” “You didn’t cause the abuse,” “It is against the law for one person to hit another,” “There is help whenever you choose to seek it.”
Often people wonder why some friends or family members stay in abusive relationships. Heisler says do not give up on them. They are often stuck in a difficult situation because either they still love the person who is hurting them or they fear great harm or death if they leave. Remember, you may be that person’s lifeline. Encourage them to call a shelter to talk to an advocate.
If you need information about how to support a friend or family member or to schedule a presentation contact Heisler at directly at 730.2468, or phone the main line at Safe Haven 728-6481.

Family Justice Center offers many services at one location

Caption: Top -Lisa Delvillar visits with Cathryn Curley during the grand opening of the Family Justice Center. Left - The outside of the Family Justice Center at 414 W. First St, the old water and gas building.

By Peggy Anderson

When Lisa Delvillar started working at Safe Haven Shelter for Battered Women in 2003 her co-workers were intrigued with the job she had had just prior to coming to Duluth. Delvillar had worked for a family justice center in San Diego; at the time it was the only such facility in the nation. All the services that a woman needed when leaving a violent relationship were under one roof including legal advice, police, social workers, housing information, child-care, job training, etc.

Now Duluth is one of 15 such centers across the nation. Located in the old Water and Gas Building, 414 West First Street, the Family Justice Center occupies the first floor. Women in Construction remodeled the floor and Susie Vanderstein was the interior decorator. The building has a security entrance and is warm and inviting on the inside.

For six years the staff and board of Safe Haven worked hard to search out funding and the right location to see their vision of a Family Justice Center in Duluth become reality. “We knew it had to be near the Civic Circle to be convenient for our partners to walk,” said Cathryn Curley, director of the Duluth Family Justice Center. Most partners are at the Family Justice Center part-time and come from locations such as the police station, courthouse or County Government Building. Safe Haven secured the funds to purchase the first floor in the building.

Delvillar, now working in the Twin Cities, attended the grand opening of the Duluth Family Justice Center. “I was merely the messenger,” Delvillar said in an interview during the center’s grand opening in February.

The Family Justice Center is composed of several offices and different spaces. One for intake, police, legal advocates, social services, Legal Aid, County Victim Witness Advocate, City Attorney, Housing Access Advocate, a therapist, and a jobs and training staff. There is also a salon, a small and large conference room, a multipurpose room, an exam room, an interview room, and a lounge/kitchen for women to meet and relax.

Though many of the people providing the services listed above will be at the center only part-time, Curley said, “We still felt like we can make those appointments and make them happen.” Women will not be intimidated by having to locate and visit yet another new place for another related service. “They know it is friendly here, and we can sit in with them at their appointments.”

A woman doesn’t have to stay at the Safe Haven Shelter to use these services. It is for women who
have experienced violence either past or present in their personal relationship. Contact the Family Justice Center at 623-1000. Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff contributed to this story.

St. Louis County Attorney Melanie Ford’s fight to stop the disproportionate detention of minority youth

St. Louis County Attorney Melanie Ford meeting with representatives of organizations working on issue of detention of children of color.

By Barb Olsen
Back in 2006, Melanie Ford decided to take on what many said would be an impossible task: running for and winning the office of St. Louis County Attorney. One of the reasons she took on that election, Ford says, was because it would give her the opportunity to do something positive for St. Louis County’s youth.
“One of the statistics that troubled me most,” Ford explains, “was the disproportionate number of persons of color in St. Louis County who were incarcerated. Citizens agreed we should find programs to reduce recidivism and crime prevention in youth.

“One of the statistics that troubled me most was the disproportionate number of persons of color in St. Louis County who were incarcerated.”

St. Louis County Attorney Melanie Ford

Now entering her third year in office as St. Louis County Attorney, Melanie Ford continues to make reversing the trend of disproportionate confinement a top priority.
Last October, Ford convened a meeting of people involved with St. Louis County’s youth to talk about how the juvenile justice system operates and how it could be improved. Joining them were officials from the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), and representatives of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. JDAI is one of the nation’s most effective and widespread initiatives for reform in the juvenile justice system, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation funds programs across the country to help meet the needs of vulnerable children and families.
Since that session, a large group of organizations and individuals has joined in this effort to improve the county’s juvenile justice system, including Arrowhead Regional Corrections, St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services, Bois Forte and Fond du Lac tribal representatives, elected officials, judges, school representatives, and agencies that serve youth. And St. Louis County has been selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Minnesota JDAI to receive technical assistance and, potentially, funding for the project.
“This initiative will help us create a juvenile justice system that will be the best we can offer our children and our communities,” Ford said. “Our goal will be to keep those youth who are involved in the justice system in their own community and out of detention. It’s very expensive to incarcerate people, and studies show that troubled youth who are confined only have greater problems in the future.”
Ford says participants in the project will analyze the county’s existing programs, see what’s working well, and create successful reform strategies for approaches that aren’t working.
“While we recognize the need for detaining some juveniles, we want to eliminate the inappropriate or unnecessary use of secure detention,” Ford commented.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has invited Ford to be part of a panel discussion this summer in Washington D.C. on how juvenile justice professionals across the country can help reverse the unequal incarceration of minority youth.
Ford encourages anyone with concerns about this issue to contact her at 726-2323.

Greek Cusine: Grape Vine Cafe opens downtown

Family friend, Ritsa Petrangelo (left) likes to eat at the Grape Vine Cafe, 220 W. Superior St., because the restaurant has authentic Greek food and she feels at home. Debbie Livadaros (center) manages the cafe. Bryanna Raiche, (right) a UMD student, works as a waitress. Livadaros’ husband Alexis and adult children all are part of the business.

(Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff)

The Livadaros family opened the Grape Vine Cafe at 220 W. Superior Street in October. All family members are active in running the restaurant. Debbie is active in the day-to-day operations, while her husband Alexis helps when he isn’t busy at his day job as an engineer at WLSSD. Jason, age 32, cooks, Christina, age 23, is the front house manager and Katy, age 27, works as a waitress part-time.
The recipes are family recipes, which Debbie learned from her mother-in-law, Katina, and include lunches, dinners, appetizers, salads, soups and desserts
Specialties include gyros, spanakopita (spinach pie) and dolmathes (stuffed grape vines) platter. Greek sandwiches range at about $8 and include bake potato or fries. Lunch is served from 11 to 2 p.m. and dinner is served from 4 to 9 p.m.
A dinner specialty includes roast lamb. Catering is available.
Hours are 11 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 464-4027 and email is GrapeVineDuluth@aol.com

Here is a list of where you can pick up a copy of "The Hillsider."

Duluth Grill,
Burger King/Holiday Station,
Salvation Army Community Center
Salvation Army Thrift Store

Midtown Manor I & II and Lincoln Park Community Center

Downtown Library,
The Depot
Radisson - Superior Street entrance
Holiday Center
Pizza Luce
Hunter building Skywalk
Coney Island on Superior and First Street
Erberts and Gerbets
Saigon Cafe
Sammie's Pizza
Life House for Youth
The Exchange Cafe
City Hall
County building
DeWitt Seitz Building

Central Hillside
Ma & Pop's Market
Uncle Loui's Cafe
Damiano Center
Rainbow Center

6th Avenue East
Spur Station
ICO Station

East Hillside
Whole Foods Co-op
Members Community Credit Union
Sir Ben's
Independent Dee Laundry
First Lutheran Church
Plaza Super One
Beijing restaurant in the Plaza

London Road
Burger King

Mt Royal
Mt. Royal Foods
Mt. Royal Library

Kirby Center entrance.

Kenwood Super One

Mall Area
Super One

Lake Superior College

Nettleton School
Grant School

St. Luke's Hospital