Neighborhood notebook

East Harriet helping to improve city’s Block Club website

EAST HARRIET — The East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association has agreed to spend $2,000 of its budget on renovations for the Minneapolis Block Club website, mplsblockclub.org.

The site is a way for block clubs throughout Minneapolis to communicate with each other and to provide resources for the clubs. The block clubs are aimed at fighting crime, and also community fellowship.

The money for the site’s updates is coming from a fund previously set up to deal with graffiti in East Harriet.

Playground project gets donation

KENWOOD — A long-planned improvement project for a portion of the Kenwood Community School playground received a $10,000 donation from the Kenwood Isles Area Association in March.

The donation will be made in the form of matching funds. The total cost of the project was estimated at $36,000 to improve drainage, build a new retaining wall, plant trees and construct a new fence at the corner of Penn Avenue South and West 21st Street.

Community discussion on proposed school changes

KINGFIELD — A community-led discussion about school choice will take place at 7 p.m. March 24 at Solomon’s Porch, 100 W. 46th Street.

The meeting is an opportunity for residents from Kingfield and East Harriet to share their thoughts and strategize before a School Board vote on the issue May 12. Contact the Kingfield Neighborhood Association at [email protected] or 823-5980 for more information.

Whittier Alliance holding elections

WHITTIER ALLIANCE
— The Whittier Alliance will hold board member elections at its annual meeting 6 p.m.-–8:30 p.m. April 2 at Whittier International Elementary School, 2620 Grand Ave. S.

Neighbors will have a chance to socialize before the business meeting begins at 6:45 p.m. with a review of Whittier Alliance finances and activities in 2008. The neighborhood will also vote on the Alliance’s planned reallocation of Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) income of almost $500,000 to new NRP strategies, including housing, business and community building.

Attendees must give proof of residence.

Learn more about plastics recycling

LINDEN HILLS — The next Linden Hills EcoParents meeting is March 24, from 6:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. at the Linden Hills Recreation Center, 3100 W. 43rd St. The topic: Plastics. For more information, check out lindenhillsecoparents.blogspot.com.

Changes to historic preservation guidelines considered

LOWRY HILL — Dee Montgomery presented information about the city’s Historic Preservation Commission’s proposed changes to ordinance 599 to the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association on March 9.

Among other changes, the HPC is proposing shortening the time to determine the historic value of a property prior to demolition from 30 days to three–10 days.

According to Montgomery, this truncated timeframe is intended to speed demolition and reconstruction in neighborhoods with lots of abandoned buildings.

Montgomery expressed concern that the shortened window will have a negative effect on efforts to preserve historic structures in Lowry Hill and other neighborhoods.    

The board approved sending a letter to the HPC and the City Council stating its opposition to a vote on the proposed changes until after the HPC holds informational meetings in the lakes area and allows LHNA an opportunity to review the changes with the neighborhood.  

Lowry Hill neighbors oppose elimination of Park Board

LOWRY HILL — LHNA Board member Janet Hallaway presented the Charter Commission’s proposal to turn the independent Minneapolis Park Board into an advisory body under a city parks department. Hallaway strongly opposed eliminating the independent park board.

Dee Montgomery noted that the idea of eliminating the Park Board comes up  "every 10 to 15 years when the city has money problems. The Park Board has money to play with and the city wants the Park Board’s toys."

"I think its worth noting that it continues to come up because there is something dysfunctional in this relationship [between the city and Park Board]," countered board member Brian Austin.

The board agreed to deliver a statement to the Minneapolis Charter Commission and Council Member Lisa Goodman opposing the proposed elimination of the Park Board.

New website showcases Southwest businesses

The Nicollet-East Harriet Business Association (NEHBA) is looking for help in updating it’s recently-launched online business and resource directory, Experience Southwest.

Area residents are encouraged to check out the site at www.experiencesouthwest.com and let the business association know about any Southwest businesses that are missing or incorrectly listed.

NEHBA can be reached at 823-3472 or [email protected].

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Southwest neighborhood group meeting times

Armatage Neighborhood Association (ANA)
: Board meets 3rd Tuesday monthly at Armatage Park, 57th & Russell.

Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association (BMNA):  Board meets 2nd Wednesday monthly at Bryn Mawr School, 252 Upton Ave. S.

Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG) meeting: Board meets 3rd Tuesday monthly at Bryant Square Park, 3101 Bryant Ave. S.

Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association (CIDNA) meeting: Board meets every 1st Tuesday at Jones-Harrison Residence, 3700 Cedar Lake Ave.

East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO): Board meets 1st Thursday monthly at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, 3450 Irving Ave. S.

East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA): Board meets 1st Wednesday monthly at Lyndale Farmstead Park Building, 3900 Bryant Ave.

East Isles Residents Association (EIRA): Board meets 1st Tuesday monthly at Trinity Community Church, 1430 W. 28th St.

Fulton Neighborhood Association (FNA): Board meets 2nd Wednesday monthly at Pershing Park, 3523 W. 48th St.

Kenny Neighborhood Association (KNA)
: Board meets 3rd Tuesday monthly at Kenny Park Building, 1328 W. 58th St.

Kenwood Isles Area Association (KIAA)
: Board meets 1st Monday monthly at Kenwood Neighborhood Center, 2101 W. Franklin Ave.

Kingfield Neighborhood Association (KFNA)
: Board meets 2nd Wednesday monthly at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 41st & Nicollet.

Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHiNC)
: Board meets 1st Tuesday monthly at Linden Hills Park, 3100 W. 43rd St.

Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association (LHNA)
: Board meets 1st Tuesday monthly at Kenwood Neighborhood Center, 2101 W. Franklin Ave.

Lowry Hill East (Wedge): Board meets 3rd Wednesday monthly at Jefferson Elementary School, 1200 W. 26th St.

Lyndale Neighborhood Association (LNA): Board meets 4th Monday monthly at Painter Park, 34th & Lyndale.

Lynnhurst Neighborhood Association (LYNAS): Board meets 2nd Monday monthly at 6:30 p.m. at Lynnhurst Community Center, 50th & West Minnehaha Parkway.

Stevens Square Community Organization (SSCO)
: Board meets 3rd Thursday monthly at the Loring-Nicollet Community Center, 1925 Nicollet Ave. S.

Tangletown Neighborhood Association (TNA)
: Board meets 3rd Monday monthly at Fuller Park, 4800 Grand Ave.

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council
: Board meets 2nd Tuesday monthly at The Bakken, 3537 Zenith Ave. S.

Whittier Alliance
: Board meets 4th Thursday monthly at the Whittier Community School, 2620 Grand Ave.

Windom Community Council
: Board meets 2nd Thursday monthly at Windom Community Center, 5821 Wentworth Ave.

For more information about Southwest neighborhood organizations, go to "Resources." Send neighborhood news to Journal editor Sarah McKenzie at [email protected].

Neighborhood notebook

Editor of acclaimed jazz magazine dies

ARMATAGE — Leslie Carole Johnson, founder and publisher of jazz magazine the Mississippi Rag, died earlier this year after a three-and-a-half year battle with cancer. She was 66.

Johnson, a longtime resident of the Armatage neighborhood, had been publishing the Rag for 35 years, a widely circulated monthly magazine focusing on jazz musicians and traditional jazz and ragtime music.

The publication, dubbed the "voice of traditional jazz and ragtime," covered the history of jazz, ragtime, swing and similar styles of music, and focused on current musicians performing those kinds of music as well. The newspaper and its website featured calendar listings of jazz performances and meetings, book and CD reviews, history of jazz and columns.

According to its website, the rag boasted subscribers in all 50 states and in 26 countries. Almost 100 freelance writers and photographers regularly contributed to the publication.

In 2007, shortly after her magazine went online, Johnson was recognized for her achievements by the Jazz Journalists Association and at the Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival in 2008.

Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in journalism in 1964.

Johnson’s husband of 12 years, William Shapira, said that her love of jazz began at the Emporium of Jazz in Mendota, listening to the Hall Brother Jazz Band. At the suggestion of her first husband, journalist Dennis Johnson, Leslie decided to start a jazz magazine focusing on traditional jazz and the musicians behind it. The first publication was released in 1973, and the last issue was published in December of 2008.

"Next to her family, her newspaper was most important in Leslie’s life," Shapira said.

Johnson was also involved in the local jazz scene outside of her publication. She served as a board member and president of the Twin Cities Jazz Society, and was also a member of the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Shapira also said that Johnson not only loved jazz, but opera as well. He said on one trip to New York in 2007, he and Leslie went to a Metropolitan Opera performance.

"Leslie wore a stunning new dress and was in seventh heaven in our balcony seats," Shapira said. He also said she liked to listen to opera on National Public Radio, while he wasn’t so much of a fan.

"It drove her slightly crazy while I watched sports on TV without out the sound while listening to the opera," Shapira said.

In 2005, Johnson was diagnosed with mucosal melanoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. But her family said Johnson remained cheerful and generous.

"She never asked ‘why me?,"
Shapira said. "She rarely complained. One of her doctors said it had been an honor to treat her."

Johnson, who died Jan. 17, remained active in many local charities, and attended St. Richard’s Catholic Church in Richfield.

"She was a great editor and publisher and a wonderful wife and companion," Shapira said. "I shall miss her forever."

The Rag’s website is still up and running at www.mississippirag.com.

There will be a memorial concert for Johnson on March 21, 4–8 p.m., at Mainstreet Bar and Grill in Hopkins.

Two stoplights slated for removal

CARAG — A plan to remove two stoplights on West 31st Street won the support of CARAG members at the Feb. 17 board meeting.

The intersections of Dupont and Emerson avenues were being studied for potential conversion to three-way stop signs, instead of stoplights. The Public Works Department set the lights to flashing red to study the effect of stop signs on traffic, accidents and pedestrian safety.

Several neighborhood residents testified in support of removing the stoplights.

Neighborhood group establishing Good Neighbor Award guidelines

STEVENS SQUARE — The Stevens Square Community Organization (SSCO) Board of Directors took steps toward setting guidelines for awarding a Good Neighbor Award to businesses selling alcohol or tobacco.

The Board passed a motion requesting the SSCO Alcohol Task Force set up award guidelines for hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, or other businesses that sell alcohol or tobacco products. The task force was previously established to deal with neighborhood alcohol-related crime and livability issues.

Wedge lands Great Streets program grant

THE WEDGE — An Uptown Association grant application won support from the Lowry Hill East Neighborhood Association (LHENA) Board of Directors.

The Uptown Association applied for a grant through the city of Minneapolis Great Streets program. The grant would support a new marketing and branding campaign for Uptown.

Wedge opposes city request for zoning change

THE WEDGE
— A city proposal to increase the allowable density of housing units in some residential and commercial zoning districts was opposed by the LHENA Board.

The Board passed a motion opposing the Multi-Family Residential Density Text Amendment, which was under consideration by the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development in February. A motion passed by the board indicated the zoning change would conflict with preferences set down in a LHENA zoning study.

Southwest neighborhood group meeting times

Armatage Neighborhood Association (ANA)
: Board meets 3rd Tuesday monthly at Armatage Park, 57th & Russell.

Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association (BMNA):  Board meets 2nd Wednesday monthly at Bryn Mawr School, 252 Upton Ave. S.

Calhoun Area Residents Action Group (CARAG) meeting: Board meets 3rd Tuesday monthly at Bryant Square Park, 3101 Bryant Ave. S.

Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association (CIDNA) meeting: Board meets every 1st Tuesday at Jones-Harrison Residence, 3700 Cedar Lake Ave.

East Calhoun Community Organization (ECCO): Board meets 1st Thursday monthly at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church, 3450 Irving Ave. S.

East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA)
: Board meets 1st Wednesday monthly at Lyndale Farmstead Park Building, 3900 Bryant Ave.

East Isles Residents Association (EIRA): Board meets 1st Tuesday monthly at Trinity Community Church, 1430 W. 28th St.

Fulton Neighborhood Association (FNA)
: Board meets 2nd Wednesday monthly at Pershing Park, 3523 W. 48th St.

Kenny Neighborhood Association (KNA): Board meets 3rd Tuesday monthly at Kenny Park Building, 1328 W. 58th St.

Kenwood Isles Area Association (KIAA)
: Board meets 1st Monday monthly at Kenwood Neighborhood Center, 2101 W. Franklin Ave.

Kingfield Neighborhood Association (KFNA): Board meets 2nd Wednesday monthly at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 41st & Nicollet.

Linden Hills Neighborhood Council (LHiNC): Board meets 1st Tuesday monthly at Linden Hills Park, 3100 W. 43rd St.

Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association (LHNA): Board meets 1st Tuesday monthly at Kenwood Neighborhood Center, 2101 W. Franklin Ave.

Lowry Hill East (Wedge)
: Board meets 3rd Wednesday monthly at Jefferson Elementary School, 1200 W. 26th St.

Lyndale Neighborhood Association (LNA): Board meets 4th Monday monthly at Painter Park, 34th & Lyndale.

Lynnhurst Neighborhood Association (LYNAS): Board meets 2nd Monday monthly at 6:30 p.m. at Lynnhurst Community Center, 50th & West Minnehaha Parkway.

Stevens Square Community Organization (SSCO)
: Board meets 3rd Thursday monthly at the Loring-Nicollet Community Center, 1925 Nicollet Ave. S.

Tangletown Neighborhood Association (TNA): Board meets 3rd Monday monthly at Fuller Park, 4800 Grand Ave.

West Calhoun Neighborhood Council: Board meets 2nd Tuesday monthly at The Bakken, 3537 Zenith Ave. S.

Whittier Alliance: Board meets 4th Thursday monthly at the Whittier Community School, 2620 Grand Ave.

Windom Community Council: Board meets 2nd Thursday monthly at Windom Community Center, 5821 Wentworth Ave.

For more information about Southwest neighborhood organizations, go to "Resources." Send neighborhood news to Journal editor Sarah McKenzie at
[email protected].