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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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Cherryhomes trashed Fifth Ward’s records — Missing files raised questions of impropriety, legality


By Jerry Freeman

Community Editor


In view of former city council president Jackie Cherryhomes’ return to the political scene with her current mayoral campaign, we are reprinting, with the author’s permission, this story that appeared on MSR’s  front page March 7, 2002, five months after Natalie Johnson Lee replaced Cherryhomes as the Fifth Ward’s council member. 


When Minneapolis City Council Member Natalie Johnson Lee came to her City Hall office January 3 [2002], newly elected and ready to assume her duties, she expected to find the Fifth Ward’s records there, records she needed to brief and prepare herself. Instead, she found a desk, a blank computer, and a small cardboard box containing eight thin files. Certain there had to be more, Johnson Lee began opening the banks of file cabinets lined up outside her office. They were all empty. She asked Billy Binder, former aide to former council president Jackie Cherryhomes, where the ward’s files might be. Continue Reading →

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Cherryhomes’ reign of shame



By Jerry Freeman

Guest Commentator


In view of the former city council president Jackie Cherryhomes’ return to the political scene with her current mayoral campaign, the MSR is reprinting, with the author’s permission, a commentary that appeared in these pages August 23, 2001, two months before the Fifth Ward elected Natalie Johnson Lee to replace Cherryhomes as their council member. 


Minneapolis has a shadow government, and its name is Jackie Cherryhomes. Judging from the prevailing media slant on Minneapolis city politics, the mayor [Sharon Sayles Belton] is the captain at the helm of our metropolis, steering the city through the shoals of scandal and controversy, while the city council and its president labor on our behalf in comparative obscurity behind the mayor’s lead. When troublesome issues arise, such as abuses of Tax Increment Financing (TIF), the [Brian] Herron extortion case, or reduced bond ratings, reporters and photographers show a marked tendency to focus primarily on the mayor and only secondary on the council president. In case of the TIF, major heat was applied to the mayor, while Cherryhomes got off with just a quote or two buried deep in the text. Yet the reality in Minneapolis is just the opposite: In this strong-council-weak-mayor system, Jackie Cherryhomes wields the real power, with the mayor’s role of secondary importance in the decision-making process. Continue Reading →

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