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Recent Articles

A thank-you letter to the community:

On behalf of the family of the late Richard C. Estes, thank you for all acts of kindness shown following his passing. It’s difficult to put all my thoughts into words, but I very much appreciate your kind words, deeds and gestures at a time when these things mean so much. I thank God for friends and community such as you! To my pastor, Reverend Brian C. Herron, Sr., and the congregation of Zion Baptist Church, thank you for all of the love and support shown through the years. Thank you for your prayers, calls, hospital visits, and the wonderful home-going service and luncheon. Continue Reading →

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Pilot project reaches out to local Black veterans — Bridge Builder Project could be a ‘breakthrough’ in helping vets access VA benefits

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) projects that the percentage of Black veterans will be “significantly higher than other minority groups” as well as “the largest portion” of all veterans of color, and Black female vets account for 20 percent of women veterans. Still, there are too many Black veterans unaware of their benefits, says the Black Veterans of America (BVA). Next week it launches the Bridge Builder Project, a series of nine sessions throughout the Twin Cities to be held during August. “We saw a need and took action on it,” said BVA Executive Director/Founder David Hall, Jr. August 2 at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. His organization advocates for Black male and female veterans and their families, as well as working with homeless and incarcerated veterans in the Twin Cities area. Continue Reading →

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Spirit of volunteerism at the SMSC

 

 

Volunteerism is more than just a concept at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC). John Vig, Sr., an SMSC member, is demonstrating the importance of volunteering through a longtime friendship with SMSC Gaming Enterprise team member Wallace “Jack” Jackman. Vig and Jackman have worked together for many years on volunteer efforts to help others. Through their relationship, which started when Jackman was a bingo caller in the original Bingo Hall during the 1980s and continuing over the years, a strong friendship has developed. Vig and his wife Kathy have joined Jackman in supporting the International Leadership Institute and Project Sweetie Pie through donating their time. Continue Reading →

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Pastor celebrates 50 years of ministry

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Alphonse Reff, Sr. accepted the call to ministry in 1962. “I thought I could do some other things other than [being a minister],” admits the reverend, adding that ever since he took “a whipping from God, He whipped me into shape, and for 50 years I’ve been trying to tell the whole story.”

Both the community and his church, Wayman A.M.E. Church, where Reff has pastored for nearly 30 years, and others helped celebrated his 50 years in ministry during a three-day celebration last September. He received proclamations from both Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak among the best wishes expressed to both him and his wife Janice, who he married in 1963. “He has been a leader in the community for years now, and we are just grateful to see folk coming out and recognizing his leadership,” noted Rev. James Moody of Chicago. “It was just my honor to be here, to this great celebration and gathering with these wonderful people,” said AME Senior Bishop John R. Bryant, who was the featured speaker at a service given by the St. Continue Reading →

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Twin Cities youth gains attention of national talent scouts

 

 
Musical theater performer started paying  his dues on stage at age nine
 

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

To be young, gifted and Black, these days, isn’t what it was way back when. Nina Simone dedicated the song to Lorraine Hansberry in an era during which America tried to pretend gifted Black youngsters didn’t exist. Accordingly, avenues for success were scarce. Today, fledgling talent John Douglas Jamison, II, instead of being obstructed, has the opportunity to thrive. Minneapolis actor-singer-dancer and recent Southwest High School graduate, Jamison has been fast-tracked by Hennepin Theatre Trust, owner of the Orpheum, State, Pantages New Century Theatres in downtown Minneapolis, to pursue a professional career in musical theater. Continue Reading →

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