A south metro legal clinic has opened inside a Savage church to help immigrants process with the complexities of immigration law.
“It’s a matrix,” said Sandra Wright, director of Bridge to Life Immigration Legal Assistance Clinic, which operates out of Bridgewood Church on West 135th Street. “Unfortunately, there are not enough trustworthy assistants to help people — especially those who are not financially well off.”
The clinic, which is accredited through the Department of Justice, opened in June to help those seeking advice on acquiring work visas, family sponsorship and a path to citizenship. It took two years to set up the volunteer clinic, which was designed with low-income immigrant and refugee families in mind, Wright said.
Bridgewood, described as a Christ Reformed Presbyterian church whose parent institution is Eden Prairie’s Wooddale Church, soon realized that Scott County’s demographics were rapidly changing — and so were their congregants. In recent years, Bridgewood welcomed a few dozen Russian and African immigrants.
At first, officials began offering weekly homework help to families of nonnative English speakers. The program’s success made participants want to do more to help others, said lead pastor Dave Huizenga.
“We see the panic,” Huizenga said. “The message is needed: Christ cares about immigrants,” he said. “We want to say to them, ‘You are welcome into our region and our church.’ ”
The clinic charges $50 for a consultation, but that can be reduced based on a client’s income if they produce last year’s tax return or a recent pay stub. Night and weekend hours are available to accommodate working families. Clients must provide their own interpreter, if necessary.
The legal clinic also offers “Know your rights” education classes to inform immigrants how to interact with law enforcement.
To set up an appointment, go to bridgetolife.us or call 952-226-6022.
Pillows donated to Hurricane Harvey victims
Six truckloads of pillows arrived in Texas last week as a relief donation for displaced residents from MyPillow founder Mike Lindell.
“I just want to give back. Sleep affects everything we do; it’s just so important,” Lindell told Fox News, personally pledging to help deliver the pillows to make sure they went straight to those in need.
Using 1,000 employees, Lindell said the company manufactured the pillows in just a few hours.
MyPillow also donated several thousand pillows during Superstorm Sandy that battered East Coast in 2014.
County commissioner to hike, listen
Dakota County Commissioner Joe Atkins will host a hike and listening session in Lebanon Hills Regional Park on Wednesday.
Atkins, who has represented Rosemount and Eagan and part of Inver Grove Heights since 2017, will start the afternoon with an update on County Board happenings before taking questions and hearing residents’ concerns.
The hike starts at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Lebanon Hills Visitor Center, 860 Cliff Road, Eagan. The listening session will follow at 6 p.m. at the Visitor Center. The event is free and open to the public. To contact the Visitor Center, call 651-554-6530.
Council approves warming house art project
A Hastings warming house will soon be covered in turquoise paint and images of bright yellow tree swallows as part of the city’s investment in public art. The Hastings City Council approved a recommendation by the city’s public art task force Sept. 5 to spend $9,700 dressing up the exterior of the Levee Park warming house with a design created by two Florida artists.
Four artists submitted proposed designs for the seasonal warming house, which is actually a 20-by-8 foot metal shipping container.
The winning design, called “Free Birds,” incorporates birds because Hastings is the Audubon Society’s first designated “bird city” in Minnesota, according to task force members. It is the second piece of public art commissioned by the city’s public art task force, which was started in 2015.
Hastings, a river city of 22,000 in eastern Dakota County, which has recently gained traction as an artistic center. The city’s first public art project — a sculpture called “Nascent” — was installed in 2016 on the edge of the Levee Park parking lot. That piece is a cocoon-like structure that references Hastings history, including images of its courthouse and spiral bridge.
Drug Task Force raids local gas station
Authorities raided Top Star Market and a suspected stash house in Shakopee last week, temporarily shutting down the business.
The Southwest Metro Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Top Star and the alleged stash house on the 1700 block of Faribault Court, where they seized two vehicles, about $9,000, 1.5 pounds of marijuana and 25 grams of tetrahydrocannabinol concentrate, a compound found in marijuana.
Police arrested Connor John Entingh, 20, of Shakopee; Mohammed Adel Taweelah, 20, of Shakopee, Adam Robert Edward Ford, 19, of Waconia; and Sean Thomas Yeager, 20, of Shakopee, on charges of drug possession and sales.
Since February, police have observed traffic patterns consistent with drug dealing at Top Star, a convenience store and gas station, according to the criminal complaint. In February, an undercover officer was able to buy about one gram of marijuana from Taweelah at the store, along with other items, for $10. Taweelah put the money in the store’s cash register.