Councilman Schiff’s E-news October 12, 2012

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October 12, 2012
Vigil for Jose Parra this Sunday
Four year old is State's 24th pedestrian fatality
A vigil will be held Sunday for Jose Manuel Parra Hernandez, a four year old who was struck and killed by a car while walking to meet his father at his neighborhood park. Parra was the State's 24th pedestrian death this year. Pedestrain deaths are on pace this year to be at a five year high. October is historically the deadliest month of the year for pedestrians.
The vigil will take place at 2:00 p.m. at Stewart Park, 2700 12th Avenue South, at the north end of the park. After circling the park, the event will end with a short tribute and remarks by Pastor Patrick Cabello Hansel, the family's pastor.
Jose’s mother and others are calling for changes to make the area safer for pedestrians. Across Minnesota, as the numbers of pedestrian deaths has risen since 2008, cities have looked to new solutions to keep pedestrians safer in crosswalks. This includes brightly colored plastic stamped into pavement, countdown timers, and giving pedestrians a head start into the crosswalk before cars go.
Minnesota Department of Transportation is launching its first pedestrian safety campaign in over a decade, starting this month. Experts say that to change the uptick in pedestrian injuries and deaths, it will take a combination of enforcement, engineering, and education.

New Midtown power line underway
Hiawath Avenue will be closed starting Monday near Lake Street as part of the process to build a new substation with burried power lines to suppy energy to the rapidly growing Midtown corridor. Although Excel Energy fought to place the new high-voltage power line over the Midtown Greenway, The City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County won a fight earlier this year at the Public Utilties Commission to force the lines to be buried.
On Tuesday, October 30th from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Xcel Energy is hosting a community open house at the third floor of Plaza Verde, 1516 East Lake Street. Residents can learn about planned construction activities around the power lines, road closures, and preliminary designs for the Midtown and Hiawatha substations (Hiawatha substation design in picture above). Read more about the project at  www.xcelenergy.com/hiawathaproject

City helps small businesses expand
Since 2010, nearly 20 small businesses in the Ninth Ward such as Kitchen in the Market, Harriet Brewing, and Mcintosh Embossing have been able to create jobs with the help of the City of Minneapolis small business expansion loans. McIntosh Embossing in the Hiawatha corridor was recently approved for a 2% loan for new energy-efficent equipment. McIntosh Embossing is most famous for its participation in creating a full-sized, museum quality reproduction of the original Saint John’s Bible. "Our business has been in Minneapolis for over 40 years. We have been able to take advantage of city financing opportunities several times," said Paul McIntosh. "Our ability to access low cost financing from the city allows us to stay competitive  and give our employees competitive wages and a top-notch benefits package." 
In the summer of 2010, the city partnered with the African Development Center to provide $50,00 in funding for the Cedar Lake Clinic, which resulted in seven new jobs. This past July, Phillips Garden received a micro-loan that made is possible for them to continue providing jobs to seven people.
“Small businesses provide almost 40% of Minneapolis jobs,” said Cathy Polasky, Director of Economic Policy and Development at City of Minneapolis. “We developed programs like the 2% loan to help neighborhood businesses compete against big box retailers and keep our neighborhoods vibrant. All in all, small businesses in the Ninth Ward have received $1,058,556.10 in funds from the City and another $97,749,300.00 in matching funds from organizations and banks partnering with the City. This has resulted in over 110 jobs for the Ninth Ward in 2012. For more information about small businesses support and financing,  c lick here.

Plaza Centenario breaks ground
Statue of Zapata is gift from sister city 
Emiliano Zapata is coming to Lake Street. A ground breaking to revitalize a public art square with a new design dedicated to honoroing Mexican immigrants will take place November 20th at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of 12th Ave S and East Lake Street.
The plaza will display the statue of Mexican revolutionary war hero, Emiliano Zapata. The statue is a gift from the Governor of the state of Morelos in honor of Minneapolis’ sister-city relationship with Cuernavaca, started by Council Member Gary Schiff in 2005.
“We are looking forward to installing the Zapata statue in Plaza Centenario. The site will ecologically, culturally and historically benefit the city and the Latino community,” says Tina Tavera of the Plaza Centenario Committee. “The added green space to Lake Street will improve the neighborhood aesthetically while providing a site for civic events.”
Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin assisted the city in giving the county-owned parcel to display the statute. 
The plaza will be named Plaza Centenario in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, a ten-year struggle that ousted Mexico’s 35 year autocrat, Porfirio Diaz. Emiliano Zapata was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution and is considered one of the greatest national heroes of Mexico.
Mexican Consul General Ana Luisa Fajer explains the importance of Zapate to Mexicanos living in Minnesota. "This piece of Mexican history has significant meaning to the Mexican community who lives in the City of Minneapolis,” she says. "It is also a symbol of a thriving community that decided to come and make a home in Minneapolis from the state of Morelos, Zapata’s home state. In building Plaza Centenario, this community will be able to always remember Emiliano Zapata and thus feel at home.”
The gift of the Zapata statue recognizes not only the Minneapolis’ sister-city relationship with the capitol of Morelos, Cuernavaca, but also that in Minneapolis the majority of Mexican immigrants are from Morelos. “I have the honor of representing the district with the largest number of Mexican immigrants in the city of Minneapolis,” said Council Member Gary Schiff “The benefits of the economic investment, rich culture, and the hard work ethic that the people of Morelos bring to our city makes me proud to have a memorial of such an important Mexican hero on Lake Street.”

Ending homelessness  
         in Minneapolis

Join Council Member Gary Schiff with guest speaker Monica Simpson, Director of Community Engagement for St. Stephen’s Human Services and and a representative from Hennepin County for this month’s Breakfast with Gary on Friday, October 26th at 7:30 a.m. In 2006, the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County adopted a 10-year plan to end homelessness to address the continued cycle of homelessness. On any given night in Hennepin County, more than 3,000 men, women, children, and young adults are homeless. Almost half are children. Speakers will give an update on the progress of that 10 year plan, and the efforts to end homelessness in Hennepin County.
“Homelessness is an issue that touches everyone, and disproportionally affects child
ren, our military veterans, and victims of domestic violence. Nobody deserves to be homeless,” said Council Member Schiff. Minneapolis and Hennepin County’s partnership and efforts on this issue have been part of a national initiative to shift the cultural understanding of homelessness from managing it to ending it.
Breakfast with Gary is a monthly meeting held from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Mercado Central, 1515 East Lake Street. $5 buys breakfast.

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