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Now is a good time to buy a house


To make owning a home more affordable, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will dramatically cut the costs associated with mortgages it backs. The premium for FHA mortgage insurance, which is designed to protect the agency in case a borrower defaults on a loan, will be cut from 1.35 percent of a loan value to about 0.85 percent, the White House said in a recent statement.
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Environmental injustice in the Twin Cities


The modern environmental movement has its roots in social and political ideologies that stretch all the way back to the early 19th century, including the Romantic Movement, the conservation movement, and the early environmental protection societies. Though similar ideas, strategies and conservationist programs continued into the early part of the 20th century, particularly in Europe, it was not until the post-World War II era that environmentalism in America truly began to gain steam. In 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded and the inaugural Earth Day was celebrated. Shortly thereafter, organizations such as Greenpeace and the decidedly radical Earth First were spawned. It was also in the 1970s that the United States Department of Energy developed its weatherization assistance program. Continue Reading →

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Applications now open for summer youth internships

The City of Minneapolis youth employment program STEP-UP began accepting applications for 2015 summer internship placements on Dec. 15.  Eligible youth interested in participating in the 2015 STEP-UP class have until February 18 to complete an application online. “The future that our young people dream for themselves is completely possible,” said Mayor Betsy Hodges. “STEP-UP provides the training, jobs, mentoring, and other support they need to step up, prepare for the future, build solid careers and become our next business and civic leaders.”

Created in 2004, STEP-UP is one of the country’s premiere youth employment programs focused on serving Minneapolis youth ages 14-21 who face some of the greatest barriers to employment, including youth from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, youth of color, youth from recent immigrant families, and youth with disabilities. Since the program was launched, it has provided nearly 20,000 internship opportunities. In addition to summer jobs, STEP-UP also provides advanced-level internships and industry-specific trainings that help interns deepen and integrate their career exposure with post-secondary education and career planning. Continue Reading →

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MN ranked second-worst state in U.S. for Blacks to live


Why do we continue to tolerate such harsh disparities?  
Several months ago, in one of the earliest “Anti-Poverty Soldier” columns to appear in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, I discussed the glaring disparities that plague people of color in Minnesota, particularly African Americans. What makes these disparities especially troublesome is that Minnesota consistently rates at or near the top of all 50 states in a myriad of quality of life measures. Consider the issue of health, for example, as the United Health Foundation ranks Minnesota the sixth healthiest state in America. Minnesota also fares quite well in the arena of education. Continue Reading →

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Tips to help you (finally!) take control of your finances in 2015


By Donna Skeels Cygan

Contributing Writer


As you look back on 2014 (and more preceding years than you’d like to admit), it’s clear that you could have done a better job of managing your finances. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Not to worry — 2015 is the year when I’ll finally save more and spend less. In fact, I’ll make that one of my New Year’s resolutions! However, if you want to rise above the 90 percent of Americans whose resolutions fail, you’ll need more than just good intentions. As is the case with accomplishing most goals, getting on the path to financial security is easiest when you plan ahead and make a series of small, sustainable changes. Continue Reading →

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Building assets to escape poverty

During the mid-to-late 2000s, America’s sub-prime mortgage crisis served as the major catalyst to a larger financial emergency which nearly brought the global economy to ruins. In the wake of this disaster, poverty and unemployment skyrocketed toward record levels and millions of American’s lost their homes. The Center for Responsible Lending reports that since 2007 nearly 13 million homes have gone into foreclosure in the United States. The regions hardest hit by this epidemic were the South, West, and Midwest, which included the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Detroit and the Twin Cities. Most affected in the Twin Cities were the neighborhoods of North Minneapolis and St. Continue Reading →

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How to choose a business attorney

It’s often said that one should choose one’s attorney in the same manner that one chooses one’s doctor. If you have a serious knee injury and one that perhaps requires surgery, you are for certain going to seek out the best orthopedic surgeon that you can find. You will want to speak to and interview that physician on their experience in performing the type of surgery that you require. You may interview another physician for a second opinion or to decide which physician best suits your needs. Most importantly, you would want the best physician that you can afford. Continue Reading →

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Five steps to that first home

Want to buy your first home? Maybe you’ve got some cash saved for a down payment and maybe even recommendations for real-estate agents from savvy friends. But have you cleared your credit report, hired a tax adviser, or weighed FHA financing compared with a conventional mortgage? Sam Williams, 31, has taken all three steps in a yearlong quest to buy her first home. “This whole experience has taught me that it’s important to have your financial act in order,” said Williams, a manager in Minneapolis, MN. Continue Reading →

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