General News

There is no word for “autism” in the Somali language. And yet as many as 1 in 32 Somali children in Minneapolis have been identified with autism.

Recognizing the need, St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development decided to open an autism day treatment program in Northeast Minneapolis. There, St. David’s is partnering with Somali staff and a Somali day care to help Somali children with autism ages 3-4.

The new program, a replica of the existing ADT program at St. David’s Minnetonka location, features a four-hour morning program supported by home visits. It uses a mental health approach in a small-group, natural setting to help children improve communication, social interaction, and family support. Treatment plans are customized for each child and subject to parental approval.

The Somali Autism Day Treatment program is accepting enrollment applications now for a four-hour morning program, supported by home visits, for Somali children ages 3 to 4. You can find out more by contacting St. David’s at 952-548-8700.

KFAI’s Sharon Chen spoke with program consultant Mariam Mohamed and St. David’s Senior Director of Autism Services, Beth Fagin.

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On Saturday, April 5th, a group of DFL activists will choose a candidate to carry the party’s endorsement in the contest for State House of Representatives in District 60b in Minneapolis.

The seat has been held for more than 40 years by Representative Phyllis Kahn. This year she has a challenger within her own party – recently appointed Minneapolis school board member and previous local office-seeker Mahmoud Noor. Noor is a member of the politically active Somali community in Minneapolis and has strong support there.

On KFAI’s Morning Blend, Rico Morales talked with both candidates.

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As winter lingers into early April in the Twin Cities, the annual May Day Parade and festival in Minneapolis feels very far away.
But the calendar tells a different story. On April 5th, a series of workshops will begin to literally shape the parade.
Staff artists at the theater will use storyboards to guide volunteers in the creation of parade floats and features.
The workshops are free and open to everyone, Saturday mornings and afternoons.
Workshops are also held on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

And a big kickoff and fundraiser called “Plant the Seeds” is scheduled to support the parade, featuring food, music and art making activities.
You can find out more about all the May Day Preparation activities at HOBT dot org.

Sandy Speiler is the Artistic Director for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater. She told KFAI’s Rico Morales that everyone is invited to help make this year’s parade happen.

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The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival opens with more than 200 films, events, panels and parties. KFAI’s Cinema Shanty team, Kathie Smith and John Moret, bring you a look at this annual pageant as festivities begin.

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The Metrodome has pretty much disappeared from Minneapolis, with up to 80% of the material from the building being recycled.
In the meantime, work is underway to put up a new Minnesota Vikings and multi-purpose stadium that’s expected to open in the summer of 2016.
An essential aspect of the project is an effort to direct construction-related jobs to people who are underrepresented in the workforce – minorities, women and veterans.
Summit Academy OIC has been selected by the Stadium Authority to provide a link connecting people in these target groups with the employment opportunities they need.
They’re having a job and opportunity fair Thursday, April 3rd from 4 pm to 6:30 pm at the Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.
Gary Courtney is coordinating that effort for Summit Academy OIC. He talked with KFAI’s Mike Fischbein, who asked how the project was doing on meeting diversity hiring goals.

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At a recent meeting of the Arab League, the emir of Kuwait said the United Nations Security Council must do more to solve the conflict in Syria, arguing that it now “threatens the security and stability of the world.”
Last month, top U.N. officials said that as Syria’s grinding conflict enters its fourth year, Syrians are set to replace Afghans as the world’s largest refugee population.
Millions have fled the fighting. At least one million refugees are in camps in neighboring Lebanon. Many others are in Jordan, but not all live in official settlements.
Some manage to find housing in Amman, where they wait for a peace that seems quite distant. With assistance from Afnan Al Wahsh, KFAI’s Erin Luhmann filed this report.

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The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a new report that says global warming is changing human and natural systems worldwide. The panel is calling for swift action to mitigate the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. Without action to address the problem, hundreds of millions of people could be affected by coastal flooding and displaced due to land loss by the year 2100.

J. Drake Hamilton is the science policy director at Fresh Energy, an organization that advocates for a forward-thinking energy policy. She talked with KFAI’s Terry Carter, who wanted to know if there was anything truly “new” in this assessment.

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Today many people make telephone calls casually, with not much thought given to cost. For that you can thank cell phones and calling plans that include all the minutes you might want to use.
But for people who are in prison, picking up the phone and connecting with their lawyers, family, and loved ones on the outside can be an expensive proposition.

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A new report highlights the importance of equity to Minnesota’s economic future.
“Minnesota’s Tomorrow – Equity is the Superior Growth Model” was commissioned by several local organizations, including the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation. The research was done by a national group called Policy Link. Policy Link’s mission is to advance economic and social equity.
Stacey Millett is a Senior Program Officer with Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Jennifer Tran is a researcher with Policy Link. They stopped by KFAI to talk with Morning Blend host Mike Fischbein.

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Jeremiah Ellis joined the Gardening Matters team after years of working in public and non-profit administration. That work toward eliminating disparities in our community lead him toward food justice as an element of the social justice continuum. Upon completing Americorps service with senior citizens in Florida and theological studies in San Antonio, Jeremiah returned to his native Minnesota, where his family has lived for generations. He and his wife garden & compost at their St. Paul home. In his spare time Jeremiah takes on leadership roles with the St. Paul Area Council of Churches, the Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) Board and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

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