Community members will gather Monday evening to remember a woman killed in a truck crash in the West Calhoun neighborhood last week, and to call for safer streets for pedestrians.
Caitlan Barton, 25, of Savage, Minn. was hit Wednesday evening while crossing at the intersection of Market Plaza and West Lake Street – one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. She died Thursday.
The incident comes at a time when Minneapolis residents and city leaders are looking to improve pedestrian safety with initiatives like extended curbs and time for pedestrians to begin crossing streets before vehicles get a green light.
The West Calhoun Neighborhood Council is organizing Monday’s event, which will be held on Excelsior Boulevard near the intersection where the crash happened.
What: Memorial for Caitlan Barton and a Call to Action for Pedestrian Safety
When: Monday, Feb. 17, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Lake Calhoun Executive Center Parking Lot, 3033 Excelsior Blvd.
A collective effort has been launched to raise money and household items for the family of Troy Lewis, who lost five of his seven children in a fire last Friday.
The drive is seeking donations of clothing, household items and toiletries to help remaining members of the family. Those items may be brought to the office of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, 67 8th Av. NE, Minneapolis or the school district's Davis Center, 1250 Broadway Av. Checks may be made payable to the federation.
The union, district and Council Member Blong Yang announced the effort on Saturday. Two of the dead children attended Bethune Community School.
Minneapolis parents who may be wondering about the district's policy for serving food to students whose parents fall behind on school lunch seem to have little cause for concern despite the controversy about dumped food trays in other districts.
First, Minneapolis provides a school breakfast for every student who wants one, regardless of parent income. That includes more than 12,000 students who aren't eligible for subsidized lunches.
Second, Minneapolis not only provides a free lunch to the nearly 22,000 students whose family incomes are low enough, but it also doesn't charge another 1,713 who qualify for reduced-price lunch. They'd otherwise pay 40 cents a day, but the district decided in 2011 to cover that. The projected cost this year is about $208,000.
Moreover, all students get a standard meal, regardless of whether their family is behind on paying, according to Bertrand Weber, who heads district food programs. That means no dumping of trays for students whose parents owe money. St. Paul diverts students whose families owe at least $25 to a cheese sandwich and carton of milk, but only after several efforts to get the parents to pay or apply for free- or reduced-lunch status.
Minneapolis efforts were praised by Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. "Minneapolis is the gold standard, They don’t turn away kids. They provide hot lunches,” she said this week, singling out Weber's efforts to improve nutrition, appeal to students and lunch participation.
The issue of getting lunches to students regardless of income is personal for Cassellius, who said she was eligible during most of her youth living in the Glendale housing project in Prospect Park. “A lot of my meals were provided by schools and provided by the local park board. I have a really emotional reaction to this," she said.
Weber has the evidence to show that his department is absorbing the cost of continuing unpaid meals. There's a nearly $130,000 deficit to date for meal costs incurred by students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch before their families actually filled out the necessary application. For full-price students, the deficit run up so far is more than $132,000.
(Above: Washburn students got to try out new, more-varied school lunches ahead of other schools in 2012. Left: Bertrand Weber)
It took 24 rounds, but a mere fifth-grader schooled her elder middle-grade peers Thursday night to capture first place at the Minneapolis School District spelling bee.
Josie Spanier of Armatage school outlasted 37 other school-level champs, including a two-person duel with runner-up Kate Fraser of Anthony, to prevail.
She won with teriyaki after Fraser misplaced a vowel or two on bravura. (see video above.)
Spanier prevailed despite a diet of such words as pitchblende, tatami, knish, empanada and vulcanize in the late rounds.
A third contestant who stuck with Spanier and Fraser until the last few rounds, John Groos of Seward, was nonplussed by imam, a word clearly foreign to him despite the school’s Somali students. He used his option to have the word repeated several times by pronouncer Kelly Maynard, eventually delivering an over-voweled rendition of the term for a Muslim cleric.
Fraser and Groos are eighth-graders, giving them several years of additional reading experience over Spanier. But Spanier started reading before age 4.
Spanier, accompanied by parents Kristine and Brien, plus Armatage staffers Lisa Benson and Daniel Holden, said she spent about an hour daily preparing for the district championship. She used the national spelling bee’s website for practice, and used a list of commonly confused words. But she’s no drudge—had she not been competing, she told an interviewer, she be “probably watchng ‘American Idol.’”
Clad in a pink sweatshirt and spangly boots, she brought the Victorian gothic thriller “Splendors and Glooms” to read before the competition, and in case she was eliminated early. She didn’t need it.
The students from elementary and middle grade schools across the district got a practice round consisting mostly of one or two syllable words to get over any stage fright before the competition began. Then they got a dose of reality in a first round that might have been the night’s toughest. More than half of the contestants fell out over words such as mammalian, derivative, dodecahedron, pavlovian, circumstantial and so on. For some inexplicable reason, second-round words reverted to an easier list—with none topping three syllables.
The attrition then slowed, with Sanford student Clare McDonald not tripping up on luau until round 12, while Zoe Huntington departed in the next round on oolong. McDonald bent down to the mike while the apple-cheeked Huntington craned her neck.
Groos stuck with Spanier and Fraser for four more rounds. “Since I was like six, I’ve been reading nonstop,” he said. He believes in spelling despite technology aids. “I know that spell-check is sometimes really faulty,” His father, David is a district biology teacher, who said his dyslexia doesn’t help spelling-wise.
Fraser and Spanier traded words over the next four rounds until Fraser stumbled on howitzer in round 21. Spanier spelled suave correctly, but rules required her to render another word correctly in the next round to triumph. She missed omnipotent, so Fraser was back in the game for round 23, where she missed bravura and Spanier got hygiene, and triumphed with teriyaki in round 24.
All school winners get to take a 50-word computer-generated spelling test from which up to 50 students from the seven-metro area will be selected for the metro bee on March 15.
As a fifth-grader, Spanier has three more years to compete. But lest she grow over-confident, there’s the lesson of the student from Lake Harriet Community School who won the city title the last two years, but didn’t top her school competition this year.
(Video courtesy Minneapolis public schools/Location Images/iDream.tv)
By Meghan Holden
Police are adding a new online crime-mapping tool that will update daily and allow residents to see where crime is happening.
The RAIDS Online website allows users to search for different types of crime in specific areas of the city and report anonymous tips.
The tool also includes demographic data, like the median age, household income and population density of an area.
More than two dozen cities and counties in the state already use the tool.
Police will hold a news conference Thursday morning at City Hall to instruct residents how to use the tool.
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