Water & Equity

North Minneapolis


The Water Main and MPR News are working with people, organizations, and media outlets in North Minneapolis to create conversations about water, community, and racial equity.


KMOJ INTERVIEWS

The Water Main is engaging north Minneapolis residents in conversations about the Mississippi River and equitable access to clean, affordable water. As part of that effort, Water Main has partnered with KMOJ - the north side-based community radio station that has served the region for over 40 years. Water Main has on-air and online messaging about the project. We are also collaborating with the KMOJ morning show to host interviews with local leaders doing water-related work.

Morning show hosts Freddie Bell and Chantel Sings interviewed several community and city leaders about their work during the summer of 2019.

Audio from Select Interviews

Catherine Fleming stands near the Mississippi River for a portrait at the Upper Harbor Terminal site.  Photo by Iyana Esters | The Water Main

Catherine Fleming stands near the Mississippi River for a portrait at the Upper Harbor Terminal site. Photo by Iyana Esters | The Water Main

Catherine Fleming

Catherine is part of the Northern Green Zone Task Force, the Co-Creation Team (for the Upper Harbor Terminal project), Project Sweetie Pie, MICAH and the Blue Line Coalition. The co-creation team has developed plans for the Upper Harbor Terminal she says are inspired by the Mississippi River. She says the plans would create an ecologically sound, innovative and creative development that would engage north side communities. The city and park officials have approved a different plan for the UHT site, but components of the community-based vision are still possible.

Freddie Bell, Kristel Porter, and Chantel Sings at KMOJ in North Minneapolis.  Photo courtesy Kristel Porter

Freddie Bell, Kristel Porter, and Chantel Sings at KMOJ in North Minneapolis. Photo courtesy Kristel Porter

Kristel Porter

Kristel is Director of the Cleveland Neighborhood Association and Co-founder and Program Director of Minnesota Renewable Now. She is engaged in grassroots efforts to create water friendly urban design ideas and action. She calls  for changes in the urban landscape to retain more rain water on the land, clean water before it goes into the Mississippi and reduce the need for water treatment that requires energy. Ideas include green roofs, rain barrels, grey water systems, and water basins that would water the boulevard trees. She talks about the interconnectedness with clean water, land use, energy use and climate change.

 
Roxanne O’Brien - Organizer

Roxanne O’Brien - Organizer

Sharon Day, Ojibwe Elder

Sharon Day, Ojibwe Elder

Erik Hansen, Director of Economic Policy & Development

Erik Hansen, Director of Economic Policy & Development

Other guests included:

Roxanne O’Brien

Organizer with the Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy; Lead Organizer with the Tactical Urbanism Lab at Juxtaposition Arts

Sharon Day

Ojibwe Elder, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe, Executive Director of the Indigenous People’s Task Force and leader of Nibiwalks

Erik Hansen

Director of Economic Policy & Development in the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) & spokesman for Upper Harbor Terminal Development Project

Kailen Branson, Myeesha Powell, and Alissa Simmons

Summer interns with North News

Amy Skoczlas Cole

Managing Director of The Water Main, Minnesota Public Radio


EVENTS


NORTH NEWS

The cover of the July 25th edition of North News featuring stories about northsiders’ relationships with the Missisippi River. Click on the image to read this issue.

The cover of the July 25th edition of North News featuring stories about northsiders’ relationships with the Missisippi River. Click on the image to read this issue.

Minnesota Public Radio partnered with North News, the north Minneapolis community-based newspaper, to teach the newspaper Editor and the summer interns how to produce audio work: Kenzie O’Keefe (editor), Kailen Branson (17), Myeesha Powell (18) and Alissa Simmons (20).

The interns worked exclusively on an edition of the paper dedicated to the stretch of the Mississippi River that runs along the north side of Minneapolis. All their stories were about he river: northsiders' relationship with the river, personal memories and reflections, the Upper Harbor Terminal development project, and other landmarks along the river.

MPR sponsored two recording “kits” with state of the art recorders and microphones.  And throughout the summer Melissa Townsend summer worked with the three interns to teach them how to record interviews and natural scene sound, use audio editing software to identify key clips to use to tell a coherent story, write scripts, narrate stories and score their stories with music. 

They used this equipment to record interviews with community residents and city policy makers for their stories about the Mississippi River.

The interns produced 4 pieces from our work together.

On the first day, they created this story about a life-changing event that happened to intern Kailen Branson.

Kailen Branson produced a solo piece about an acquaintance who talks about how experiences of racism taught her to stay away from the Mississippi River.

For the North News July edition, the interns reported on the redevelopment of the Upper Harbor Terminal.  It’s a 48 acre abandoned industrial parcel on the banks of the Mississippi on the north side. It is slated for redevelopment and many community members are concerns about the plans. The interns created this “reporters notebook” style story to share reflections from their reporting. The piece - only the 2nd one they created as a team -  reflects their novice audio recording skills. 

Finally, they used their new audio-production skills to record, mix and produce this scored interview with north side resident, advocate and leader Chonda Smith-Baker.