The same storm whose EF5 tornado destroyed a large area of Joplin, Missouri, birthed a smaller EF1 twister that touched down in St. Louis Park and stayed on the ground until it finally dissipated in Anoka County. It left a landscape of battered homes, toppled trees and scrambled lives in Minneapolis's poorest neighborhoods. As the May 22 anniversary of the tornado approaches, this blog will report on what's changed since then, as well as events and news associated with the worst natural disaster in Minneapolis' modern history.
May 19 Tree planting in the tornado zone: The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is seeking volunteers for its "Treecovery" effort. "Adult volunteers are needed to plant trees on Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. until noon at Folwell Park, while young volunteers and families can water the 275 trees that were planted in the park last fall following the tornado, build birdhouses, learn about tree care and meet Elmer the Elm Tree," the park board announced in a news release. Volunteers must register by noon, May 14, by "emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 612-313-7778 or visiting www.minneapolisparks.org/register and searching using activity numbers 16612 and 16613."
Also on May 19: Tell your tornado story: "Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater will collect personal stories of those affected to raise public awareness of their challenges, with the end goal of publishing the material in a book," according to a Hennepin County Library news release. The oral history sessions will be held 12:30-2 p.m. on May 19 at Hennepin County Library – Sumner, 611 Van White Blvd., and 3-4:30 p.m. on May 19 at Hennepin County Library – North Regional, 1315 Lowry Ave. N. The library said participants can register ahead of time at hclib.org. "Click on Events & Classes, then do a keyword search on the word Temporary. Or call the Sumner Library at 612-543-6875 or North Regional Library at 612-543-8450. Walk-in participants are also welcomed."
One year later, recovery from the tornado and its massive impact continues: "Simply said, we are not the same. Our community has been changed by a force of nature that one would not have expected to encounter in the heart of the city." (Sue Quist, Camden News, via Twin Cities Daily Planet)
North Minneapolis, one year later: One year after a tornado ripped a 3.5-mile gash through North Minneapolis, community still struggling to respond, heal (David Doody, Twin Cities Metro Magazine, with photo essay by Eliesa Johnson)
In north Minneapolis, a whirlwind, then stasis: The tornado hit. The volunteers came and went. And now the North Side waits patiently -- once again. (Maureen Mulvaney, in the Star Tribune's op-ed section)