On Thursday night, the Northfield Community Action Center (CAC) held its annual homeless awareness event on Bridge Square, part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. I took these photos this morning at about 6:15 as a few St. Olaf students (and from The Key/Northfield Union of Youth) began waking up. CAC Executive Director Jim Blaha kept yelling, “When I get up, everybody gets up!” Read more in the paper’s article on this earlier this week.
Update 11/17: I got this email and the three additional photos above from Nate Jacobi, Assistant Director for Civic Engagement at St. Olaf:
Hi Griff, I believe there were around 20 people who stayed overnight (including around 14 from St. Olaf and a number of students affiliated with the Key) who slept out. Here are the names who participated from St. Olaf (not all of them stayed through the night):
Lauren Zimbelman, Beth Reynolds, Mackenzie O’Connell, Hattie Ryan, Monica Cooper, Lizzy French, Chrisopher Mukina, Jason Kornelis, Rachel Schwabe-Fry, Mai T. Vong, Lee Thao, Pattona Xiong, Melissa Yang, Lue Vang, Eric Khuong, Domonique DeWild, Erica Berger, Leslie Abell, Janne Dale, Tyler Hauger, Ricky Traut, Michael Murchison, Nathan Clement, Joe Budish, Vera Belazeluoska, Kelsey Harwood, Siri Svanoe, Marija Knudson, Lisa Knapp, Alexandra Mastney, (+ 3 others whose names I do not have).
I didn’t know that St. Olaf had a Civic Engagement Program within its Center for Experiential Learning (CEL). Here’s a blurb:
This, the newest of the CEL programs, is a collaboration between the CEL’s experiential learning professionals and faculty, helping classroom instructors identify ways that students can connect service and civic engagement to classroom learning. Building on the college’s longstanding commitment to service and community involvement, the goal of the program is to make these activities academic in nature while contributing to the needs of the community.
A group of hearty souls slept out in plastic bag tents last night in Riverside Park, part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
Each year, one week before Thanksgiving, National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness co-sponsor National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During this week, a number of schools, communities and cities take part in a nationwide effort to bring greater awareness to the problems of hunger and homelessness.
Left: Northfield Community Action Center Executive Director Jim Blaha and the make-shift tents made from rice bags.
Center: Union of Youth/Americorps gang: Zane, Marie, Gilly, Kellen, Jena
Right: Wells Fargo Northfield President Mark Mohlke and Ryan Moore
Left: a group of St. Olaf students. Apologies for the fuzzy photo. I must have been shivering.
Gov. Pawlenty announced his short-term budget cuts yesterday (MPR). Local impact? Nlfd News says: Northfield to lose $356,000
Figures released today by Gov. Tim Pawlenty show Northfield’s anticipated Dec. 26 aid payment will be $356,000 short of what city leaders expected… The governor’s decision reduces the amount Northfield will receive next week by a little more than 4 percent — from $1.56 million to $1.21 million. It’s unclear how the city will deal with the unallotment. The city is required by law to balance its annual budget.
Today’s editorial in the Nfld News: Gov. Pawlenty, give back our money
Taxpayers are not legally allowed to tell the state that they didn’t make enough money this year to pay their taxes, so why should the governor be allowed to use essentially the same argument? … And while they’re at it, perhaps legislators should consider ending the governor’s authority to unilaterally take money away from our communities through unallotment.
Sen. Kevin Dahle blogged about the impending LGA cuts earlier this week:
If the Governor is set on using LGA to fill that gap, I hope he makes proportional cuts that will allow cities and counties to still receive badly needed checks this December instead of a blindsided approach that leaves our local governments reeling.
Seems to me that Pawlenty handled it reasonably well, especially in his sparing small towns and small counties from the short-term LGA axe… as well as military, veterans, K-12 education, and public safety (press release). I saw Northfield resident and Minnesota Association of School Administrators (MASA) Executive Director (and blogger) Charlie Kyte at GBM this morning and he agreed.
Besides, we’re not in such bad shape here in Northfield. City Finance Director Kathleen McBride commented here on Locally Grown back in early Dec when I asked her about City’s vulnerability to further cuts:
We have already received notice of our 2009 state aid amounts. The dilemma is what the potential cuts could be and when they would be made. It is possible that the governor – and the legislature could “un-allot” 2009 aid in 2009. This would cause local governments to have to make mid-year budget reductions.
The City does have a $722,000 “revenue stabilization” reserve for this very purpose. This at least allows us some wiggle room should the cuts occur suddenly.
Rep. David Bly blogged about the State’s BIG budget problem earlier this month. He alerted me to it via email:
In my most recent post I talked a bit about the budget crunch we are facing at the State level, I encourage constituents to weigh in on suggestions for the resolving the budget problem. It occurred to me that Locally Grown might be a place to generate some discussion. I do genuinely want to hear ideas from those who are interested in offering them. The $5.2 billion short fall will not be made up by using one approach or by a simplistic solution and the more ideas we have to work with the better.
Sen. Dahle makes a similar plea in his Thursday blog post.
We’re planning to have both Rep. Bly and Sen. Dahle on our radio show/podcast in the next two weeks, so now’s a good time to start the discussion.
How would you balance the State’s short- and long term budget problem?
Once again, the Northfield Community Action Center and the Civic Engagement Program in the Center for Experiential Learning at St. Olaf teamed up on National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
One of their awareness strategies has been to camp out overnight in a public space in Northfield, as they did in 2006 and again in 2007.
On Thursday night this week, they did it again. It was a nippy 5 degrees F. on Friday morning.
In the photo on the far left: Jim Blaha, director of the Northfield Community Action Center; standing next to him, Nate Jacobi, Assistant Director for Civic Engagement at St. Olaf’s Center for Experiential Learning.
Tonight’s New York Times: In Frantic Day, Wall Street Banks Teeter; In one of the most dramatic days in Wall Street history, Merrill Lynch agreed to sell itself to Bank of America for about $50 billion, while Lehman Brothers headed toward bankruptcy.
Tonight’s Wall St. Journal: Crisis on Wall Street as Lehman Totters, Merrill Is Sold, AIG Seeks to Raise Cash. Fed Will Expand Its Lending Arsenal in a Bid to Calm Markets; Moves Cap a Momentous Weekend for American Finance.
Looks like a real meltdown. Let’s try to make sense of it… especially how it might impact things locally.
Ray Cox has just blogged the news that earlier this afternoon, Gov. Tim Pawlenty appointed Senator Tom Neuville to the trial court bench which was recently vacated by retiring Judge Gerald Wolf.