General News

St. Paul’s oldest African American neighborhood is named after French Canadian fur trader Joseph Rondeau. After the civil war and during the reconstruction period in the south, many African Americans sought a better life and moved north. Some arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota, where jobs in the railroad and lumber industries were plentiful.

Starting a new life on Rondo Avenue, residents were entrepreneurs, opening businesses and catering to the local community. Bonds were formed and frienships developed. A tight-knit neighborhood committed to education and opportunity evolved. Families cared for themselves and each other.

Then in the 1960s, construction of Interstate 94 divided Rondo—shattering the community and displacing thousands of African Americans into a racially segregated city and discriminatory housing market. The highway radically changed the landscape, and erased a now-legendary neighborhood.

Rondo still exists and its persistence and growth are celebrated through events like Rondo Days and the Jazz Festival.

KFAI producer Allison Herrera explores this legendary community in an audio documentary, The History of Rondo, airing Wed, Feb 19, at 7:30pm on MinneCulure.

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A few weeks ago, Alberto Monserrate announced he will step down from the Minneapolis School Board after serving one term. As a private citizen, Monserrate has balanced his public service with the demands of wide-ranging business interests – running a Latino-oriented media company that has expanded into advertising, public relations, and even fashion. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis schools face significant issues that include student achievement, assessment, funding, and equal treatment. Monserrate told KFAI’s Rico Morales that after chairing the board for two years he decided to spend this last year on the board focusing on the issues that led him to run for office in the first place.

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Shez Cassim is a Minnesotan who spent most of 2013 in a prison in the United Arab Emirates. His nine-month ordeal began when U.A.E. authorities took offense to a satiric video he posted on You Tube. Cassim’s jailers would not tell him why he was imprisoned. His release came only after he was convicted of defaming the country, sentenced to a year in prison and given credit for time served.
KFAI’s Christina Cerruti talked with Shez Cassim in Minneapolis, and filed this report.

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Each week, KFAI’s Cinema Shanty considers a current film that will screen in the Twin Cities. Join Kathie Smith and John Moret as they discuss the most engaging and provocative cinema being produced today. This week, they talk about a Sebastián Lelio film called “Gloria”.

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The Twin Cities are part of a national effort to eradicate homelessness among veterans sometime during the next two years. Eleven state agencies are working to get to this goal ahead of similar efforts in other participating cities in Ohio and Iowa.
KFAI recently talked with two leaders in Minnesota’s campaign to address this issue – Mikkel Beckmen of Heading Home Hennepin and Cathy ten Broeke, the State Director to Prevent and End Homelessness. ten Broeke talked with KFAI’s Diksha Maurya who asked about the inter-city competition to see to it that our veterans do not live on the street.

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An overnight musical marathon, protesting drone warfare, took place on the West Bank this past weekend. The effort was inspired by a comment last summer from Alan Sparhawk of the Duluth indie trio Low after his band filled an entire 27-minute set with one song. “Drone, not drones,” was Sparhawk’s explanation.
The Drone Not Drones benefit raised money for Doctors Without Borders and gave musicians a chance to voice their opposition to the Obama Administration’s use of unmanned aircraft to kill terrorism suspects in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
KFAI correspondent Ryan Dawes was on the scene and filed this report.

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Economic indicators suggest that there is a long-awaited recovery underway in key areas around our region, including housing and employment.
Both government and private interests want the recovery to get stronger, but how best to make that happen is often at issue.
One of the less-well-known players in this effort is a nonprofit organization called “Greater MSP”. Mostly funded by private companies, Greater MSP works to create a regional economic development strategy, to focus on job retention and expansion, and to market our region around the world. Michael Langley is the founding CEO of Greater MSP. He talked with KFAI’s Ron Thums.

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It’s not cold where we are going tonight on Jet Set Planet. That’s all you need to know. Join host Glen Leslie, and his co-host for the evening Steve Kyle, for 90 minutes of the best in Exotica to celebrate the middle of the coldest months we’ve seen in a long time around these parts. Steve brings in a pile of LPs from his personal collection as we do our best to keep the tiki torches burning bright, keeping us warm in the face of Old Man Winter and his damn sno-cone machine. You’ll hear from the famous Exotica practitioners as well as from the unknowns — with a handful of hacks thrown in for good measure. So bust out the rum for a night of summer, in the middle of winter – on Jet Set Planet, Friday Nights at 9 on KFAI.

An international group of researchers, including astronomers from the University of Minnesota, have launched a new “citizen science” project called Galaxy Zoo. The project allows anyone to become a cosmic explorer by looking for black holes in space. And yes, this is something you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Lawrence Rudnick is a University of Minnesota Professor and an astrophysicist who studies large-scale structures in the Universe. He talked with KFAI’s John Helgeson, who asked the professor why black holes are important.

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Female-headed households in Minnesota are the most likely type of family configuration to be in poverty. And a persistent wage gap and “occupational clustering” contribute to the poverty that afflicts women and their families.

These are some of the findings of a study of Women’s Economic Security in the state of Minnesota. The report is the work of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and the Center on Women and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School.

Deb Fitzpatrick is director of the Center on Women and Public Policy. She talked with KFAI’s Paul Brohaugh on the Morning Blend.

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