Insight News

Aug 31st


Minneapolis students earning cash for trash

Minneapolis students earning cash for trashSeveral area schools, including Seward Montessori and the Barton Open School, have recently signed up to collect used Malt-O-Meal cereal bags, along with other non-recyclable trash items, as part of one company’s mission to eliminate waste. That company, TerraCycle, pays the schools for their used cereal bags through their free, nationwide program called the ‘Brigades’. TerraCycle then uses waste to make new products, from pencil cases to kites, thus keeping the trash from ending up in a landfill.

The New Jersey based company, TerraCycle, and the Minneapolis-based Malt-O-Meal Cereal Company have partnered in order to create 1,250 Malt-O-Meal Cereal Bag Brigades in elementary and secondary schools across the country. Malt-O-Meal makes over 25 varieties of ready-to-eat cereal including some of the country’s most popular cereals. All Malt-O-Meal cereal varieties can be collected and upcycled by Malt-O-Meal Cereal Bag Brigades. “Bags create 75% less packaging to dispose of than comparable cereal box packaging that includes both a box and an inside bag(1),” said Paul Reppenhagen, Director of Marketing at Malt-O-Meal. “Now, for every Malt-O-Meal cereal bag that is collected and returned to TerraCycle, we can reduce that packaging waste to zero.”

T Williams: Helping to ensure a positive school reforms for our children

T Williams: Helping to ensure a positive school reforms for our childrenThe joyful sounds of kids spending their summer days in the parks or down the street tell us school’s out for the summer. The primary election is August 10 this year, and what happens in August may very well determine the November general elections and beyond. A large field of candidates are vying for two at large seats for the Minneapolis School Board. For us that means we must be clear on who represents the best choices for those two seats.

It is with a sense of urgency that we have found ourselves jumping onto the campaign team to support T. Williams’ re-election bid for School Board. We are compelled to help T. get re-elected because we have witnessed a number of positive changes taking place in our Minneapolis Public Schools. We need to keep those changes going in the right direction because they are good for our children. We do not believe our children will be adequately served without quality, experienced African American representation on the board.

Help with college choices

For many high school students, choosing the right college has always been a tough decision to make. There are so many questions to consider: What do I want to major in? Which colleges are known for my major? Do I want to go out of state or in state? Do I want to go to a large school or small school? What can I do to stand out of the crowd and get into the college I want? 

As a rising sophomore in high school, I am finding that it is not too early to start answering the questions listed above. The hard part is where to begin.

The easiest place to start is the Internet. This place is also one of the hardest spots to find information. The problem that arises is that you are given an infinite number of websites to explore and not all of them will have the answers you are looking for. Some of the websites may even give the wrong information.

Walker West preserves legacy of musical excellence

Walker West preserves legacy of musical excellenceWalker West Music Academy

Music is alive on any given weekday afternoon in the modest building situated on the corner of Selby Avenue and Avon Street in the historic African American Rondo Community of Saint Paul. Children are keying chords on a grand piano, exercising vocal chords, or practicing an instrumental on horn. This is the location of the historic Walker West Music Academy, a 501c(3) non-profit community school of music, and one of the only African American arts organizations in the nation with a 20 plus year history, that is still in operation.

Over the years Walker West has produced decades of musical phenoms with international appeal, such as recording artists and musicians Larry Waddell and Stokely Williams of Mint Condition; jazz performing artist, songwriter and music teacher Paris Strother; and song writer, performer and recording artist Nikki Jean. Students and their parents come to Walker West in throngs because of its ability to produce skillful musicians; for the guidance and credibility of its dedicated founders the Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West; curriculum focused on music performance and instruction strongly influenced by the African American experience; and the commitment of accomplished staff. A portion of the school’s mission reads as follows:

Destination 2010 event celebrates nine-year journey of Minneapolis and Saint Paul public school students

Destination 2010 event celebrates nine-year journey of Minneapolis and Saint Paul public school students On Tuesday, June 15, about 450 people gathered to celebrate 150 Minneapolis and Saint Paul public school students and the culmination of Destination 2010, a student achievement and scholarship initiative sponsored by The Minneapolis Foundation.

Launched in 2001, Destination 2010 enrolled 364 third-graders across seven struggling Minneapolis and St. Paul district public schools in a nine-year student achievement and scholarship initiative. ”D2010” was designed to help these students, the majority of whom were low income and of color, graduate in 2010 and pursue higher education -- and to share the lessons learned along the way. As third-graders, these students were promised that if they graduated from high school and did not move out of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul school districts, they would be given a $10,000 scholarship for a four-year college or a $5,000 scholarship for a vocational/technical school. The celebration, which was held at the Nicollet Island Pavilion, honored the journey of these students and their families, their academic achievements and, for most, the beginning of their post-secondary education.

Saint Paul Public Schools provides free summer meals as part of USDA program

Free meals will be made available this summer to all children 18 years of age and under, and persons 19 years of age and over who have a mental or physical disability (as determined by a State or local educational agency) and who participates during the school year in a public or private non-profit school program (established for the mentally or physically disabled).

The Summer Food Service Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), begins Monday, June 21 and ends Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. Meals will be available at over 75 sites throughout the city, including community sites, recreation centers and schools. Meals may include breakfast, lunch, supper or a snack, depending on their hours of operation. For information about specific sites, call the Saint Paul Public Schools Nutrition Services Department at (651) 603-4950 or visit

The Summer Food Service Program is an effort to ensure that children in lower-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during school vacations. More information about the program is available at

Minnesota LTAP announces Roads Scholar Program graduates

Minnesota LTAP announces Roads Scholar Program graduatesThe Minnesota Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) announces its fifth graduating class from the Roads Scholar Program, which includes Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) northwest region superintendent Dewayne Jones.

According to Jones, who has worked 23 years for Mn/DOT, the LTAP Roads Scholars Program has been helpful to his career. "The LTAP classes provided me with new technology and ongoing research that I can use to achieve my greatest goals in my job," he said.
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