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Brenda Bell Brown: art as a natural part of everyday life

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

Writer, performer and visual artist Brenda Bell Brown, renowned Twin Cities fixture, utilizes the concepts of art and culture as more than an aesthetic pursuit. She successfully realizes them as a community resource. Point in case, a mere partial listing of her accomplishments includes membership in such prestigious institutions as the Black Storytellers Alliance, the Archie Givens Foundation Black Writers Collaborative, and, in her native Tennessee, the Blues City Cultural Center. She earned as well a 2010 Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership Grant and twice sat as a cultural liaison to the Minnesota State Arts Board. Indeed, to Brown, culture and community are inextricably part and parcel of life itself. Continue Reading →

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Reflections on a magical year for Gopher women’s hoops

 

 

 

 

 

Only one time in Gopher women’s basketball history has the team been among the final four teams standing after a long season. A reunion of those players at a recent Gopher’s game provided an opportunity for some pleasant reminiscing. The MSR is the only Twin Cities weekly to consistently cover the Gopher women for at least four decades, beginning with the late Kwame McDonald in the 1970s; then this reporter joined him in the late 1980s. While other local media have totally ignored the program, we always were there. Then came 2004. Continue Reading →

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One Black coach, a few Black players reach NCAA women’s volleyball playoffs

 

 

 

Each of the four teams that played in the NCAA first- and second-round volleyball matches hosted last weekend by the University of Minnesota had at least one player of color: Cheyanne James (Radford), Alexis Austin (Colorado), Victoria Hurtt and Erin Taylor (Iowa State), and two Puerto Rico-born players: Iowa State’s Neira Ortiz Ruiz and the Gophers’ Daly Santana. James was second on her squad in kills — one of a school-record five players receiving all-conference honors. Hurtt thrice led Iowa State with 20-plus kills. Colorado Coach Liz Kritza called the sophomore Austin “team-oriented.”

While seeing a low single-digit number of players of color at a volleyball match, even a post-season match, wasn’t that surprising, discovering that one of the schools was coached by a Black female was a surprise, especially since, unlike the other three schools, her photo was not included in her school’s pre-game notes. Marci Jenkins last weekend completed her sixth season at Radford (Va.) University, which won the Big South conference this year. Continue Reading →

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“To the extent practical”

Escape language in legislation allows steel purchase outside Iron Range

 

The Minnesota Sports Facility Authority met November 22, 2013, to sign the contract to put the final stadium construction process and procedures into place. The local daily newspaper’s picture of John Wood of M.A. Mortenson, shaking hands with a colleague, with a large group of people smiling and applauding in the background, shows how well steel facts were withheld as happy faces turned unhappy within 24 hours as people realized not all the steel would come from Minnesota, as “promised.”

The legislative language: “to the extent practical…MN steel” (see Stadium legislation, Section 11, lines 2423-2424) is the escape hatch from “all Minnesota.” This is how the State and City continually get away with not hiring Black Americans on construction projects, using equivalencies of good-faith effort, as we’ve long reported. Now its the Iron Range White man’s turn, as 20 percent of stadium steel will come from steel mines of ArcelorMittal (in the Duchy of Luxembourg, Ruhr Valley, near Germany). After Mittal bought Arcelor in 2006, the Mittal family of India has owned 40 percent of ArcelorMittal. The issue is not where the steel comes from (you want the best so the stadium doesn’t collapse). Continue Reading →

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