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Bertha Mae Johnson Smith

February 12, 1920 — April 18, 2014

Bertha Mae Johnson Smith passed away peacefully at the golden age of 94 on Good Friday, April 18, 2014. Bertha was the first African American school teacher in the Minneapolis Public School District. She was a dedicated educator and was active in her community until her health failed her. Sister Bertha Smith was born on February 12, 1920, in Des Moines, Iowa. When she was five years old, her mother died and she and her siblings were left in the temporary care of a White family before moving to North Minneapolis with her grandmother and father. Continue Reading →

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Black female strength coach a true rarity

Conclusion of a two-part column

 

If it’s hard being a Black female coach in any sport, it’s more than likely harder still for a Black female strength coach. Mia Erickson of the Mayo Clinic Performance Center in Rochester, Minn. was the only Black among the four-person sport science panel at the U of M Tucker Center Women Coaches Symposium in February. “That’s just the way it is on seeing [strength] coaches that look like me,” she admits. “First of all, I’m in a male-dominated field, so there are not going to be a lot of female coaches. Continue Reading →

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A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →

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Cookie Cart receives grant from Hennepin County to improve recycling program

Cookie Cart, a Minneapolis bakery and nonprofit organization, received a $10,000 recycling grant in January, along with 10 other Hennepin County businesses and organizations. Now they’ll be able to make environmental sustainability a strong aspect of their business and up the ante on their recycling programs.

In addition to selling delicious cookies, Cookie Cart helps youth ages 15-18 gain first-time work experience while learning important life skills. All cookie profits are invested back into Cookie Cart’s youth employment program. Cookie Cart is currently expanding and relocating their bakery, and they will use Hennepin County’s business recycling grant to improve their recycling system and implement an organics recycling system. Organics composting is great for the environment — recycling food scraps, food-soiled paper products and other compostable items. A recycling hauler picks up the collected organics from a business and brings them to a commercial composting facility. Continue Reading →

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A call to action: Help your neighbor

The winter season 2013 through 2014 returned Minneapolis to the reality of Minnesota winters. We had been spoiled by the relatively mild winter seasons of the past few years

I own and operate a snow-removal company. This is the first season where I can say, “I got tired of snow.” I don’t mind snow, but for a while the snow was falling every three or four days. This put a strain on bodies, equipment and clients. We serve over 50 seniors and persons with disabilities. Continue Reading →

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Introducing a new column on financial advancement

Good credit — is it overrated?  

There was a time when cash was king. It seems like those days are long gone and now credit determines everything. Our county, from top to bottom, is built on credit. We need credit to buy a home, a car, to rent an apartment, to lease anything, to get a cell phone, to gain employment, to start a business, to determine interest rates on any financial obligation and your insurance payments. Continue Reading →

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Civil rights tour opened students’ eyes to Black history

 Spring break trip field trip encouraged thoughts of college, attending HBCUs
 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

Over 40 Minneapolis Public Schools’ (MPS) Black high school students, instead of spending spring break on a sunny beach, traveled down south by bus on a “Civil Rights Research Tour.” The five-day tour (March 31-April 5) took the students to Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia and stopped at several historic sites, including the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four young Black girls died in 1964. For some students, the trip also included stops at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Four of the participants spoke to the MSR last week about their experience. “It helped me learn more about my history,” said Edison junior Nailah Heard. “I never heard of the 16th Street Church at all,” added Edison’s classmate Jasmine Valentine. Continue Reading →

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A Fierce Green Fire details the history of the environmental movement

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

A toxic waste landfill in Warren County, North Carolina, a predominantly Black community that “galvanized the nation to talk about environmental racism,” was among the toxic dump sites featured in a recent PBS documentary on the environmental movement, which started in the 1960s. “A Fierce Green Fire” premiered nationally on April 22 on PBS as part of the network’s American Masters series. The one-hour film was inspired by the book of the same name by environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff, who’s also featured in the documentary. “You could say this was the biggest movement the world has ever seen,” said Oscar-nominated director Mark Kitchell, who wrote, produced and directed the film, in a recent MSR phone interview. “I really wanted to be the first to put it all together” on film, he added. Continue Reading →

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Treating skin of color

Conclusion of a 4-part column

 

 

Most skin diseases occur in people of all nationalities, regardless of their skin color. Certain problems encountered in the skin are more common in people with different hues of skin, and sometimes a disorder seems more prominent because it affects skin color. This week concludes our review of these disorders and their treatments.  

 

Tinea capitis

Tinea capitis, also known as ringworm, is endemic in African American children. Any child with a scaling, itching scalp should be thoroughly investigated for tinea capitis. Continue Reading →

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