On the BEAT: What’s happening around campus and the region

ST. PAUL

Mobile market increases food access in St. Paul

An innovative new way to combat the effects of so-called “food deserts” in St. Paul hit the streets in early 2015. The Twin Cities Mobile Market (TCMM), a grocery store on wheels housed in a former Metro Transit bus, is making the rounds through neighborhoods that lack grocery stores and opportunities to purchase healthy food items.
The market, a program of the St. Paul nonprofit Amherst H. Wilder foundation, was conceived late last summer and quickly became reality. After a successful Indiegogo campaign and grants from UCare and St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, among other groups, the organization purchased a decommissioned Metro Transit bus and retrofitted it into a grocery store, complete with coolers for milk, meats and other products.
The bus stops at 18 locations in St. Paul from Tuesday to Saturday each week, hitting neighborhoods like Dayton’s Bluff, where 300 of the 1,700 households are without a vehicle and more than half a mile from a supermarket.
The TCMM (which prefers to use the term “food access” over “food deserts) brings fresh and often local food to these underserved neighborhoods and community locations at prices lower than those in grocery stores.
In the future, the TCMM looks to buy another bus, expand to Minneapolis and offer nutrition education to their customers.

PROGRAM BOARD

Program Board applications for next year available

The Program Board applications for the 2015-2016 Board are out. There are eight available Coordinator positions: Traditions (2), Concerts and Festivals (2), On-campus (2), Mac Cinema (1) and Off-campus (1). Each Coordinator position description is in the application form, which is now posted on the Program Board Facebook page, the Daily Piper and your class Facebook page. For further information, please send an email to [email protected]
“Horrible Bosses 2” will be showing this evening in JBD at 8 p.m.
Program Board will also host a samosa-making workshop at the Cultural House on Thursday, Feb. 19. A sign-up sheet for this event is available on the PB Facebook page.

TRANSIT

Metropolitan Council questions plans for streetcars

A comparison study of streetcar investments around the country presented to the Metropolitan Council on Wednesday painted a realistic picture of streetcar investment that may sway policymakers in a new direction.
Streetcar lines, like light rail lines and other transit investments, are often proposed as a magic bullet type of economic development for cities, but the study was skeptical about the measurement and real impact that recently constructed streetcar lines have had in places like Portland.
Compared to light rail projects, which can cost $40 to $100 million per mile in capital costs, streetcar lines are a bargain, coming in at $20-$68 million/mile. The streetcars function more like buses, making more frequent local stops and not commanding their own right-of-way like light rail.
The comparison to buses, however, has caused Minnesota policymakers to question the logic of spending $200-$300 million on a new streetcar line.
Despite these concerns and criticisms, Minneapolis wants to build the 3.4-mile Nicollet-Central streetcar line along Nicollet and Central avenues, which would start at Lake and Nicollet and continue across the Mississippi River on the Hennepin Avenue bridge, stretching at least to Fifth Street Northwest.
St. Paul, meanwhile, has passed a resolution in favor of a long-term network of streetcar lines, but no decisions have been made at this point.
A study regarding the best form of transit to use in the Riverview Corridor (connecting downtown St. Paul to the international airport via West 7th) is currently under way.

NATIONAL

House passes Keystone XL bill despite veto threat

The U.S. House passed a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday by a vote of 270-152. Despite President Barack Obama’s opposition and veto threat, the House joined the Senate in approving the pipeline’s construction. All Minnesota Representatives except Betty McCollumn and Keith Ellison, who represent the Twin Cities, voted for the bill. When the Senate passed the authorizing bill in January, both Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken voted against construction.

DEPARTMENT OF MULTICULTURAL LIFE

Joy DeGruy, Black History Month Keynote Speaker

Since Wednesday, there have been screenings of “Roots: the Saga of an American Family,” based on the book by Alex Haley, in the Harmon Reading Room in the library. Today, Friday, there will be a screening from 7 to 9 p.m. Tomorrow and Sunday, screenings will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Discussion will follow each viewing.
On Tuesday, Feb. 17th at 7 p.m. in the Hill Ballroom, Macalester’s Black History Month Keynote Speaker, Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, will be speaking about the remaining impact of trauma on African descendants in the Americas. The event is open to the public.
A community conversation regarding the “More Than Words” campaign will be held in the Harmon Reading Room on Wednesday, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food will be provided.
On Thursday, Feb. 16th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Hill Ballroom, the 16th annual American Studies conference will host Keynote Speaker Professor Christina Greer of Fordham University. The topic is “Mixed Race America: Identities and Culture.” Greer is the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream.

MAC-GROVELAND

Macalester closes on purchase of 1721 Princeton

Macalester’s High Winds Fund officially closed on a purchase of 1721 Princeton this week, preventing the house from demolition and ending a monthlong saga that united preservationists from around the neighborhood and around the country. The 104-year old house was purchased by new owners in November who intended to demolish the house and build two newer houses in its place. A massive campaign to save the house followed, ending in the new owners selling the house to the High Winds Fund.
According to the Star Tribune, the High Winds Fund will place the house on the market by the next month, under the condition that the home is not torn down.