The scoreboard that accompanies the new athletic field that debuted at Washburn High School a year ago is now operational.
The new scoreboard was in place for Friday's homecoming football game against Roosevelt, won 62-6 by the home team, but was actually lit up for its first use the night before in Washburn's soccer matches against Southwest.
Using the long-anticipated scoreboard puts a punctuation mark on a painful chapter in the school's past year, when the scoreboard played a contributing role in the ouster of a principal and an athletic director.
The board was originally to be much bigger than the one pictured above and installed outside the north end of the stadium. But when neighbors objected to the cutting of trees for its installation, the city discovered that the district hadn't obtained the necessary municipal approvals.and ruled the original proposal too tall under city zoning rules.
That got Athletic Director Dan Pratt in hot water, and when some of the student body got wind that he was being reassigned to teaching full time, they rebelled with a walkout and a sit-in. That in turn led to Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson's reassignment of Principal Carol Markham-Cousins.
She remains with the district overseeing the small school operating within the Juvenile Detention Center. Pratt left over the summer to head ahtletics and activities for Rockford schools. The district's hand-picked replacement for Washburn principal, Patrick Exner, never got to serve in that role after an allegation that he participated in changing student test answers surfaced at Ubah Academy, his previous school. He denied doing so, but Exner is no longer with Minneapolis schools, the district said Friday.
Four public meetings divided by sector of the city have been scheduled by the Minneapolis school district on a proposal by district planners to shuffle programs and schools for about one-quarter of district students to handle rising enrollment.
The meetings are scheduled for these areas and the prooposal potentially affects certain schools in each sector:
North portion of Area A: Tuesday, 6-8 p.m., Anwatin Middle School, 256 Upton Av. S. Cityview, Franklin, Lincoln, Olson, North and Sheridan schools, plus Davis Center.
Northeast portion of Area A: Oct. 14, 6-8 p.m., Northeast Middle School, 955 Hayes Av. NE, Same schools.
Area B (eastern portion of South Side plus part of southeast Minneapolis): Oct. 10, 6-8 p.m., Northrop school, 4315 31st Av. S. Cooper, Hiawatha, Howe, Sanford, Seward, and Wilder schools.
Area C (western half of South Side plus downtown): Oct. 9, 6-8 p.m., Ramsey Middle School, 1 W. 49th St. Barton, Burroughs, Hale, Kenny, Lake Harriet, Ramsey, Southwest, Washburn and Wilder schools.
Also up for discussion at the meetings are potential city-wide impact changes affecting Longfellow, North, Roosevelt, Sulivan, Tuttle, Webster, Wilder and 2225 E. Lake St.
More information about the proposal discussed Tuesday evening is available through the district.
A former Gluek saloon in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood isn’t going down easy.
The city’s Heritage Preservation Commission said no once again on Tuesday in the year-old saga of whether a housing developer can raze the onetime saloon building that sits on part of its site.
The 5-4 vote by commissioners opens the door to a likely appeal by developer Fine Associates, which wants to clear the 1903 two-story brick building. Fine wants to build 259 apartments in a six story complex with parking that it calls Five15 on the Park.
The commission vote came despite a staff recommendation that the developer had exhausted feasible options for moving the former saloon at 1500 6th St. S. A neighboring developer denied a request by Fine to use its nearby site temporarily to move the building to another site Fine owns at 1527 S. 6th St. Moves to other locations in the area were too expensive for moving the structure alone, let alone rehab, Fine’s Bob Kueppers told the commission.
Commissioners who bucked the recommendation said they feel the building, now stripped of its saloon décor, is still an important historic resource, and one of few remaining vintage buildings in the area.
Opponents note that a number of the 86 saloons in Minneapolis known as "tied houses" that Gluek built to peddle its suds exclusively still remain, including some not far away in the same neighborhood.
Fine was pressing the city a year ago to let it demolish the building because it was in a hurry to start construction. But a commission staff report said a developer pro forma shows the development proposal still has a $4.9 million financial gap.
An application to demolish the building was submitted in August, 2012, and the commission denied the request last November. The City Council overrode that on appeal, but said the building had to be moved down the street. Fine renewed its demolition request in August, arguing that there were no feasible alternatives to demolition. It doesn’t want to leave the building in a corner of the proposed development because that would reduce the number of apartments built, and clash with the project’s design, Kueppers said.
A strong potential contender has emerged for the school board seat to be filled after the death of Hussein Samatar.
Like Samatar, Mohamud Noor is a Somali immigrant and moved to Minnesota as a young adult. Moreover, his wife and Samatar’s are related, he said.
In order to qualify for the District 3 seat, Noor will need to complete a move from northeast Minneapolis to the district. He said he’s in the process of moving to Seward, first himself and later his family. That will put him closer to Lyndale Community School, which his children attend, and the job he’s taken on acting as executive director for the Cedar Riverside-based Confederation of Somali Community.
The 36-year-old Noor hasn’t declared his candidacy, but said he’s been encouraged by elders to run. “I will not take it on unless the people who need the representation give the blessing,” he said.
If his name is familiar, Noor turned a lot of heads in a 2011 special election for the Minnesota Senate, finishing second with 26 percent of the vote in a DFL primary field crowded with more experienced politicos. He gained endorsements in that election from the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, Take Action Minnesota and Stonewall DFL, the party's gay-rights caucus.
More significantly for the school seat, he was also endorsed by the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. That’s interesting, given that Samatar was one of only two board members to vote against the last teacher contract.
Noor earlier ran for one of the school board’s citywide seats in 2010, finishing just out of the money in a 10-way primary in fifth place.
He’s currently on a paternity leave from the state of Minnesota, where he works in informaiton techology operations.. His wife formerly worked as an education assistant at Lyndale.
Some board members have expressed support for appointing a qualified Somali-American for the seat, all things being equal. Samatar was the state’s first Somali elected official when he was elected unopposed in 2010.
The district runs between Interstate 35W and the Mississippi River, between the heavily Somali Cedar Riverside area and a southern border that generally follows E. 36th Street. The appoiuntment that board makes will be through the 2014 school election, when Samatar's term expired.
(Photo: Mohamud Noor announced formation of a New Americans PAC in 2012.)
If you're the worrying sort, this week's failure of a large water service line in the Old St. Anthony area of the Minneapolis riverfront may have given you fresh cause for worry.
How's a Minneapolis homeowner supposed to know if the water service line that runs from the water main in the street to the water meter in your residence is up to snuff?
There's no sure way of knowing without an expensive excavation. But there's one way to find out if the property you're in is operating with the originally installed line or was modernized more recently. That's a call to 612-673-2451, where the city keeps permit records on work done on water service lines.
This homeowner found that his service line was replaced ny a previous owner in 1958 with a three-quarter-inch copper pipe from the house to the shutoff valve on the boulevard. That means that only the shorter portion running from the shufoff to the main is original piping from around 1908, most likely lead piping, given construction practices at the time.
Why should you care? Any pipe replacement other than a failure of the city-owned main is on the property owner's dime. The cost typically ranges from $3,000 to $5,000, since the ciuty requires that a plumber replace lead pipes with copper.
On the plus side, failure of your small line isn't likely to spew anywhere near the estimated 90,000-gallon loss recorded in the St. Anthony Main area, where water lines are some of the oldest in the city.
(Photo: Water flooded the Aster Cafe along SE Main St. after a private line from the water main to the building broke.) .
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