Saturday, April 01, 2017

Benefits of buying from the bulk aisle

Benefits of buying from the bulk aisle

By Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
For The Hillsider

Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
When I was a kid I remember going with my grandma to Amazing Grains, our local food co-op in Grand Forks N.D. (not to be confused with Amazing Grace, the cafe and bakery in Duluth), and seeing big bins of baking ingredients like flour, oats, and nuts. At first I thought it was strange because I’d never seen anything other than candies in bulk bins at the grocery store. I watched as my grandma, an avid bread baker, scooped flour and oatmeal into containers she’d brought from home. Once we were done we brought the containers up to the checkout counter for an employee to weigh them and calculate the cost.

Rebecca's grandma in Amazing Grains, a co-op grocery store which sells food in bulk.
Little did I know that a few years after this trip with my grandma, buying food from the bulk aisle would become a regular part of my shopping trips. Not only am I saving money, but I’m also reducing the amount of waste I bring home. Many grocery stores now have a bulk aisle, making it easy to get started buying grain, cereal, nuts, dried fruit, and other food in bulk.  

Three Reasons to Buy from the Bulk Aisle:

Save Money - Bulk foods tend to be cheaper because you’re not paying for the extra packaging and marketing costs from all the flashy labels or cartoon characters. You can buy as much or as little as you want. I especially like this advantage when buying spices. I don’t have to buy a whole spice jar if I only need a couple of teaspoons.  

Three reasons to shop bulk: cheaper, reduce waste and reduce your carbon footprint
Reduce Waste - Buying foods in bulk reduces the amount of packaging that ends up in the trash can, recycling bin, or as litter. While packaging helps keep food fresh and protect it from damage during transportation, much of it is unnecessary and mostly used to sell products. A good example if this is breakfast cereal. It often comes in plastic packaging inside a cardboard box. The box is used to make the cereal more visitable and attractive to customers, but doesn’t keep the cereal any fresher. When you buy food in bulk, you're not bring home any unnecessary packaging that you have to throw out. You can reduce waste even more by bringing your own reusable container. I like to repurpose glass jars and spice containers. Some stores will even give you a discount for bringing your own containers. Just remember to weigh them before you fill them up!   

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - It takes a lot of energy (mostly from fossil fuels) and resources (water, trees, aluminum, plastic) to package food. Energy use gives off greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that are major contributors to climate change. A carbon footprint is a measurement of the amount of greenhouse gases produced by a person, activity, or product. Less packaging means less energy used for resource extraction and making the packaging, which lowers the carbon footprint of the food. Transportation of the food is also more efficient because without all that packaging taking up space, there’s more room for food on the delivery truck.

Tagline here: Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff lives in Lincoln Park, has a degree in environmental science, is a 5 Gyres Ambassador, leads Zumba classes and is interested in health and wellness. Full disclosure: She is also the daughter of The Hillsider editor Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff.

Nonviolent communication workshops presented

Karpeles Museum, 902 E. 1st St
Building Trust, Guarding Truth
Interactive presentation and discussion
Dazed, confused, and discouraged by threats of fake news and “alternative facts” in the media today? Political lies and manipulation of truth in the public arena are a breach of public trust and heighten suspicion and division among citizens. In this interactive workshop, learn how to identify credible information sources and unmask fake news and disinformation. Discussion will include methods to leverage social media tools effectively and responsibly.

Presented by Kit Pittman and Kayleen Jones, reference librarians at UMD’s Kathryn Martin Library.

Duluth Superior Friends Meeting, 1802 East 1st Street, Duluth
Nonviolent Communication – Why and How
Video screening; Discussion and exercises
How do you to talk with people whose attitudes and behaviors you oppose? And why is that important? Learn how nonviolent communication can help you engage in disagreement without demonizing or sacrificing your values. Small-group practice sessions will also enhance nonviolent communication skills to interact more effectively with friends, family, and allies.

Presented by Ann Harrington of Ann Harrington Training and Consulting

These workshops are part of the Nonviolence Wins! Series of public programs, including film screenings, trainings and discussions on nonviolent strategies and actions, reconciliation and social unity. Sponsored by the Duluth Superior Friends Meeting (Quakers), the series is intended to contribute positively to the Twin Ports community dialogue around issues arising from the current political climate.

All programs are free and open to the public.

 Visit for complete descriptions and updates or call 218 724-2659 for information.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Growing up in Hillside, living the dream as a singer/songwriter today

Breanne Marie singing "Away in a Manger" at St John's Free Lutheran Church

By Breanne Marie Tepler
For The Hillsider

Except for a few years in the ‘80s when we lived in Kenwood, I was born and raised in Central Hillside. When I was four years old we lived in a triplex on Second Avenue West. My first memories are from that apartment. Our babysitter lived downstairs from us. He used to make us Kool Aid in a cheap plastic pitcher and stir it with a big cutting knife. My dad was gone a lot working and helping people. When he was home, he loved to listen to music. He had one of those suitcase-style record players and a pretty decent sized record collection. I remember vividly the Mary Poppins soundtrack. We would play that over and over again, and when the record wasn’t playing we would sing the songs and jump on our beds and run around the house. Music was joy.

‘Music was joy.’

From left to right back row: Mom (Kimberly Schlies) and Dad (John Schlies). Front row from left to right: Timothy Schlies, Breanne Schlies (the author) and Justin Schlies.

‘When (my dad) was home, he loved to listen to music.’
I’ve always loved music and I’ve always loved to sing. When we moved to Kenwood in the early ‘80s I joined the church down the road and I had a singing solo for the Christmas program. I knew after that performance I was going to be a singer forever. Fast forward to today and I’m a musician, singer and songwriter with a five-piece country band. I have a suitcase-style record player and a pretty decent country music record collection. The band and I have booked studio time next month at Sparta Sound with Rich Mattson and we’re going to record 10 original songs and  make our very own record. My dad passed away in 2006 and I can’t help but think of how proud he would be that his daughter is making a 12” vinyl record with her original songs. 

Breanne Marie has a full time day job, is a wife and mother, and is a musician in town. She is currently raising funds for a new music album titled Wildfolowers and Tumbleweeds.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't miss Kip Praslowicz's "Broken Duluth" at the Red Herring

"Broken Duluth," runs until the end of March.
Public · Art

The Red Herring Lounge
208 E 1st St, Duluth, Minnesota 55802

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign begins today

Bob Suomela of Waters of Life Church speaks about the March Food Drive 

CHUM and Bent Paddle hosted a press conference in recognition of area businesses for hosting food and collection drives for CHUM during Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, and The Hillsider was there.
Several business leaders spoke about  how area businesses are helping us to Squash Hungry in Duluth.
In 2016, Duluth area businesses, congregations, schools and community groups, helped raise $95,000 and 26,465 pounds of food.
Because March is the month when all contributions to Minnesota food shelves receive a proportional match from Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign, a program of the Minneapolis Council of Churches, contributions have an even greater impact on the lives of those receiving food at CHUM.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

DeFEnd Planned Parenthood demonstration on Central Entrance

Demonstrators on Central Entrance show their support for Planned Parenthood 
(Video and photos by Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff)

Anti-choice protesters organized nationwide DefUnd Planned Parenthood protests today. Planned Parenthood supporters countered with a DeFEnd Planned Parenthood Day of Action.

Organizers of the Duluth rally say about 200 supporters of Planned Parenthood showed up between 9-11am and only about 15 anti-choice protesters.

Demonstrators defending Planned Parenthood stood across the street at 1001 Central Entrance in Duluth, MN. (Photo by Rebeccca Yaeger-Bischoff)

1001 East Central Entrance,

Friday, February 10, 2017

'Listening Sessions" bring City Hall to neighborhoods

Mayor Larson
Join Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and city councilors for these upcoming community listening. It’s a great way for you and your neighbors to speak comfortably and directly to the mayor, city councilor or a city staff person one-on-one about your issues or ideas.
Your input is critical in helping the mayor and city councilors work better.
The 2017 City Hall in the City community listening sessions will occur on the third Wednesday of the month and run from 5:30-7:00 pm. These events are open to all residents. Children are also welcome to attend.
The first set of dates with City Councilors and locations are as follows:  

February 15 – Councilor Em Westerlund at Grant Recreation Center, 901 East 11th Street


March 15 – Council President Joel Sipress at Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Ave


April 19 -  Councilor Noah Hobbs at American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO), in Trepanier Hall, 202 West 2nd Street


May 17 – Councilor Zack Filipovich at Piedmont Heights Community Center, 2302 West 3rd Street
Future dates and locations will be announced at a later time.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Circle of Courage can lead to successful lives

Dr. Martin Brokenleg shares a lifetime of experience and research on at-risk youth  
Martin Brokenleg

By Mark Nicklawske

People growing up in troubled environments face difficult life obstacles, but through a powerful natural resilience and greater community support, these children can still find success, said a noted author, a doctor of psychology, and retired Native American Studies professor.
Dr. Martin Brokenleg shared his life experiences and decades of career research during a Woodland Hills Community Event at Mitchell Auditorium on the campus of the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth on January 17, 2017. More than 350 people attended the presentation.
Martin Brokenleg speaking at the College of St. Scholastica.

Brokenleg told the audience that previous generations have attempted to change overwhelmed cultures through unsuccessful methods like residential schools, failed trauma treatment, and a focus on problems rather than success. These methods have never led to positive change.
“There’s a dark energy for every generation that doesn’t do its healing work well,” he said. “For example, you don’t learn to be a parent in a residential school environment.”
When children are removed from their families and forced to learn a new culture away from home, an entire way of life is placed at risk. Brokenleg said past residential schooling has led to “intergenerational trauma” for cultures like Native American, Irish and Ethiopians. (Editor's note, this is also true for African Americans)
Without family support, children are exposed to addictions, abuse, domestic violence, incarceration and neglect.
“Traumatized people don’t wake up in the morning and think about going to the gym,” he said. “They’re just glad they woke up.”
Brokenleg, a Lakota and member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe, grew up in south central South Dakota as a first wave baby boomer. Ten other children were born the same year in his neighborhood. “I am the only one left,” he said.
All of his childhood peers were victims of intergenerational trauma, said Brokenleg—a trauma afflicting a Native American culture that has been under attack for generations.
“If somebody convinces you you’re just not good enough, nobody will hold you down,” said Brokenleg. “That’s because you’ve been holding yourself back in your own mind.”
Some young people survive only on their strong will and resilience.  
Brokenleg studied psychology and education for 30 years at Augustana University in Sioux Falls where he served as a professor of Native American Studies. In 1990, along with two educators, he developed a model for positive youth development called the Circle of Courage. The model was highlighted in the book, “Reclaiming Youth at Risk,” which has been published in 15 languages around the world.
The Circle of Courage focuses on four areas of youth development: Belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. The model is designed to educate the heart, character, and soul of an individual as much as the mind.
“Many times your kids will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel,” said Brokenleg. He told a story about his aunt walking five miles in a snowstorm to see him off to high school. The moment made him feel like an important part of the family.
Giving children a feeling of belonging is an important first step. Gang culture thrives on artificial belonging, said Brokenleg. It is up to families and schools to supply the real thing.
Children must be exposed to many interests so they can discover their talents and find success. Success then leads to independence and a healthy adulthood.
Brokenleg pointed to a shift in child psychology studies since the 1950s. In the past, psychologists studied what went wrong with a group and tried to fix the problem. Instead, methods changed to examine what went right with a group and promote those discoveries.
Experts learned generosity through things like compliments, affection, empathy, and volunteer service often led at-risk children to make successful choices. Brokenleg encouraged parents and educators to be generous, and never give up hope in improving the lives of young people.
Native Americans use the drum circle as an important tribal gathering point. Each member of the tribe plays a role in producing the instruments, rhythm and sound. Brokenleg said the same idea must be applied to raising young people.
“Working with these methods, it gives them support, it gives them spiritual well-being and that’s the role for all human beings,” he said.

Mark Nicklawske lives in Duluth and writes for Woodland Hills. The piece was originally published at and reprinted with permission from the writer.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

March for missing and murdered Indigenous women

A march for missing and murdered women will be held on Tuesday, Feb 14. Those interested in marching are to gather at  4:45 p.m. at the Central Hillside Community Center/One Roof Community Housing Office on Lake Avenue and East Fourth Street. The march will start there and continue to the  Minnesota Power Plaza at Lake Avenue and Superior Street.

Featured speakers include Shannon Smallwood, Millie Richard and Babette Sandman. Afterwards participants will march to the lake for a ceremony and open mic. The event is Participating groups include Mending the Sacred Hoop, AICHO, Idle No More /Northwoods Wolf Alliance, PAVSA, Men as Peacemakers ,Hildegard House and Survivors by Survivors

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bag It, Duluth! It’s time to quit single use plastic bags

 Above:Screenshot from Movie trailer for Bag it.

Below: Youtube trailer for Bag it.


By Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
For The Hillsider

I grew up in a small town and on the weekends my dad and I would drive to the “big city” to stock up on supplies for the upcoming week. We’d usually go the the grocery store, home improvement store, and the mall. Each one of these stores gave us plastic bags to carry our items home.

Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
Even as a kid I didn’t like to throw away things I thought could be reused, so I’d stuff all of the plastic bags into one big bag to reuse again later. We’d inevitably get way more plastic bags than we could ever reuse, and my dad would throw some away. Even though I didn’t like waste, I didn’t think anything about using the plastic bags from the stores. It’s what everyone I saw was doing, so it was normal.

These days I carry my own reusable bags when I go shopping. Not only do I feel better about reducing my waste, but I have also learned how harmful plastic bags are for the environment and our health.

The average amount of time a plastic bag is used is 12 minutes, but plastic bags remain in the environment for hundreds of years before they degrade, and they never really disappear. Instead the bags break down into tinier and tinier pieces, eventually becoming microplastics.

Microplastics are a pollution double-whammy. On top of contaminating our soil and water, they act like a sponge for toxic chemicals, absorbing toxins such as PCBs and DDT (chemicals linked to hormone disruption and cancer). Much of these microplastics end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans where birds, fish, and other marine animals mistake these toxic plastic pieces for food.

In a recent study from the Rochester Institute of Technology, researchers that found nearly 22 million pounds of plastic debris enter the Great Lakes every year—about 70 thousand pounds of it into Lake Superior. Lorena Rios Mendoza, a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, has been researching microplastic pollution in the Great Lakes and says she is surprised by how much she is finding in fish stomachs. Bad news, especially for those that enjoy fishing on Lake Superior.

What Can Each Person Do?

Start by learning more and meeting with others that want to help. To help address the impacts of single-use plastics, Bag it, Duluth, a group of citizens, community leaders, businesses, and organizations, is calling for legislation that would encourage reusable carry-out bags and environmentally preferable food to-go containers. As part of the Bag it, Duluth campaign, the League of Women Voters Duluth is sponsoring a free showing of the film “Bag It” at 7pm Thursday, February 16th at the Denfeld High School Lecture Hall. The film will bring greater insight to the impacts of plastics on our environment and ideas on reducing plastics in our community. 

For more information on Bag it, Duluth go to

(Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff lives in Lincoln Park, has a degree in environmental science, is a 5 Gyres Ambassador, leads Zumba classes and is interested in health and wellness. Full disclosure: She is also the daughter of The Hillsider editor Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff.)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Duluth Women's March draws more than 1,400 participants

Some 1,400 people gathered in downtown Duluth, Minn at the Technology Village at the corner or Lake Avenue and Superior Street on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. 
(Video by Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff)

On Saturday, Jan. 21, thousand of people descended on the capital of our nation for a Women's March on D.C.  Some 673 marches took place on  seven continents. Some 1,400 attended the Duluth Women's March.  (More Videos and photos to follow.)
From the Women's March on Washington:

We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.  The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us - women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear. In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers is too great to ignore.  We call on all defenders of human rights to join us.

The Women’s March will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world, that women's rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

This is an INCLUSIVE march, and EVERYONE who supports the march's goals are welcome to join this peaceful gathering!

Hundreds gather at Technology Village for Women's March

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Creative Watershed: Duluth Arts + Culture Plan: Thursday, Jan. 19, 5-7 p.m.

Duluth Public Arts Commission announces the formal release of Creative Watershed: Duluth Arts + Culture Plan

What: Official Release of the Creative Watershed: Duluth Arts + Culture Plan
When: Today, January 19, 2017, 5:00-7:00pm (short program at 6:00 pm)
Where: Mayor’s Reception Room, Room 405 City Hall, 411 W 1st St., Duluth, MN 55802
Who: Public is invited, hosted by City of Duluth Public Arts Commission (DPAC)

[Duluth, MN] - Featuring textile art by Kirsten Aune and Lisa Fitzpatrick, music by The Sound of Strings Trio, and refreshments by Zenith Bread Project, the public is cordially invited to celebrate the release of Creative Watershed: Duluth Arts + Culture Plan. The celebratory event will take place from 5-7 pm on January 19, in Duluth City Hall, 4th floor Room 405 with a short program to commence at 6 pm.

The Duluth Public Arts Commission (DPAC) contracted consultants Forecast Public Art and Creative Community Builders of St. Paul and Minneapolis to facilitate the development of Creative Watershed, which included gathering feedback and direction from approximately 80 regional stakeholders over an 18-month process.

One of the plan’s early recommendations was to relocate and better connect DPAC with a City department. DPAC is happy to report that the Commission's new home is with the Business and Economic Development Department. Jason Hale is the staff liaison, and Gary Anderson is DPAC’s City Council representative.

Surrounded by local art, music and artisan food, the short program will highlight some of the major features and recommendations of Creative Watershed, a document that has been endorsed by the Duluth City Council and that is intended to guide the future vision and collaborative efforts of DPAC its public and private partners.

The plan identifies 5 major goals, along with detailed recommendations for each:
1. Cultivate Our Talents: Arts Development and a Creative ‘Maker’ Economy
2. Activate and Connect Our Neighborhoods and Downtown: Creative Placemaking and Public Art
3. Amplify Our Message: Audience Development and Tourism
4. Capitalize Our Strengths: Infrastructure for the Creative Sector
5. Make It Happen: The Role of City Government -- Expand scope, partnerships, and resources for the City’s Arts Commission to
implement goals in this plan.

Creative Watershed: Duluth Arts + Culture Plan can be accessed at:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Green New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

By Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff
For The Hillsider

When people think of New Year’s resolutions they usually think about lifestyle changes for weight loss, healthier diets, and exercise routines. This year, along with any resolutions you might be making for your personal health, I encourage you to make resolutions for a healthier planet. Plastic pollution and climate change can seem like too daunting of a challenge to make any real difference, but, by incorporating one or more of the small lifestyle changes listed below, you really can make a big difference in reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill and decrease your carbon footprint.   
Ethyl’s, the cat, first bus ride! She went to get her nails done and brought smiles to the the people she sat by on the bus.
(Photo by Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff)

Here are some small steps you can take to make a positive impact on environmental change.

  1. Carry your own reusable water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water or accepting bottled water at an event. Single use, plastic bottles create a lot of waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only about 31% of plastic bottles are recycled. Bottles that end up in landfills take thousands of years to decompose. When they do start to decompose they leach out toxic chemicals into our environment. Many plastic bottles also make they way to rivers, lakes, and eventually the ocean where animals mistake the plastic for food and starve to death or get stuck in them. If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water, consider investing in a water filter or go to to find a natural spring near you.

  1. Bring your own mug to work or your favorite coffee shop. The EPA estimates over 100 billion disposable cups that are thrown away each year. These cups of often made of Styrofoam or paper lined with thin plastic coating. Neither can be easily recycled. Styrofoam is especially problematic because it made up of very toxic chemicals and never decomposes. It breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces that can leach toxins into our water sources and animals mistake for food. Coffee shops often give discounts for bringing your own mug. And besides, having a coffee (or tea) in a real mug is more fun!

  1. Bring your own reusable shopping bag. If you’re starting to see a theme in switching out one-time use, disposable items for reusable ones you’re onto something. Plastic bags are the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts. As with the plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups, plastic bags are very hazardous for animals and take thousands of years to decompose in a landfill. All are made of oil, a nonrenewable resource and large emitter of greenhouse gases (the ones driving climate change) and take a lot of water and energy to manufacture. Remembering to bring your own bags into the store can be the trickiest part of switching to reusable bags. There are companies that make foldable bags that you can carry in a purse or attach to a keychain so you’ll always have a bag with you. I’ve also seen signs in store parking lots asking customers if they remembered to bring their inside. Many stores like it when people bring their own bags because it saves them money. 

    If you’re starting to see a theme in switching out one-time use, disposable items for reusable ones you’re onto something.

  1. Compost your food waste. The EPA estimates that 33 million tons of food waste ends up in the landfill each year. About 40% of that waste is food that never even made it to anyone’s plate according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Not only does food waste in landfills take up unnecessary space, it anaerobically (without oxygen) breaks down, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Composting your food waste is a great way to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in a landfill and recycle nutrients back into the soil. It breaks down food waste faster and more efficiently food waste in the landfill. Here in Duluth we are lucky to have a large-scale composting facility operated by Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD). If you're like me and not able to compost at home, you can drop off food waste at WLSSD’s 27th Avenue West location or check their website for a drop-off site near you.

  1. Bus, bike, or walk to your destination. Reduce your carbon footprint, improve air quality, save money, and get some exercise by using alternative transportation. Duluth celebrates Bus Bike Walk month in May but it’s never too early to try alternative transportation. I work downtown and hear many complaints about paying for parking or finding parking near businesses. Taking the bus, biking, or walking makes that part of the trip a lot less stressful. While I realize that the these alternatives may not be as convenient for you, I encourage you to check Google Maps to see if there’s a bus or bike route near you. I started by biking and taking the bus for fun and eventually become confident enough to work it into a regular routine.
Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff

(Rebecca Yaeger-Bischoff lives in Lincoln Park, has a degree in environmental science, is a 5 Gyres Ambassador, leads Zumba classes and is interested in health and wellness. Full disclosure: She is also the daughter of The Hillsider editor Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff.)