Category Archives: Reporter Pieces

Transit Times Tell A Tale

Assigment:  Attend this press conference on Tuesday, May 12 and file a report for the Morning Blend.  OR schedule one or more interviews with stakeholders to give KFAI’s listeners an understanding of the meaning of this report.

Report Release to Show Wide Racial Disparities in Twin Cities Transit Times

St. Paul – A new report released by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, TakeAction Minnesota, ISAIAH, and the Center for Popular Democracy shows the impact of enormous racial disparities in commute times between transit riders of color and white drivers in the Twin Cities.

This report will show that transit riders of color in the Twin Cities lose the equivalent of about four work weeks in commute times annually compared to white drivers. The transit time penalty falls hardest on communities of color because of geographic segregation and the disparate rates of public transit use. Funding solutions and transit investments currently proposed by the State Senate would help to close this gap.

The New York Times reported last week that commuting time is the single strongest factor that changes the odds of escaping poverty and noted that sufficient access to public transportation has a stronger effect on the employment and income chances of a community than many other factors, including elementary school test scores and crime. As Minnesota wrestles with ongoing racial disparities, which are among the worst in the nation, this new report will demonstrate drastic racial disparities in Twin Cities commuter transit times.

What: Press conference and release of report “It’s About Time: The Transit Time Penalty and Its Racial Implications.” Transit riders will share their stories of how the transit time penalty has impacted them.

Who: Anthony Newby, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change

Harry Maddox, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change

Jacqueline Moren, ISAIAH

Rep. Rena Moran

Rep. Frank Hornstein

30 community members

When: Tuesday, May 12, 1:30 pm.

Where: State Office Building, Room 181, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155.

Visuals: Large charts and maps from the report. Color copies of the report will be distributed.

Advance copies of the report available upon request.

CONTACT: Becky Dernbach,

Greta Bergstrom,


Africa as a Trade Partner

Unfortunately, most of what we hear in the news about Africa has to do with war, famine and strife.  But on the afternoon of Thursday, May 7th, a panel of experts will talk about Minnesota’s trade relationship with African nations.  

Assignment:  Attend this event, record the speakers, do interviews,  and produce a report about Minnesota’s trade with Africa.

As Ambassador to Ghana, Donald Teitelbaum led a major effort to build a special partnership in counter-terrorism. Now, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, he has the responsibility of overseeing such efforts across Africa.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Teitelbaum is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a degree in Foreign Affairs. He had early postings in Guyana, the Dominican Republic and Lebanon. African postings have included Somalia, Sudan, Uganda as Deputy Chief of Mission, South Africa as Deputy Chief of Mission, and Ghana as Ambassador.

He has worked in the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and has served as Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council with portfolios for Central Africa, East Africa, South Africa and HIV/AIDS. His tenure as Ambassador to Ghana immediately preceded his current position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.


Donald Teitelbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, U.S. State Department

Her Excellency Oliver Wonekha, Ugandan Ambassador to the United States
Eric Schwartz, Dean of Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Sri Zaheer, Dean, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Minnesota, U.S. and African companies invited as panelists will address Africa’s fastest growing markets, technology as market drivers, agribusiness, and more:

Tom Gitaa, Kenyan expat, MShale Publisher and President
Asratie Teferra, Ethiopian expat, Zebra Consulting LLC
Mike Essien, Nigerian expat, Essien Law Office
Dr. Mary Curtin, former U.S. State Department and current Humphrey School Diplomat in Residence
Steven Clarke, International Development Consultant

Conclusion: Paul Hansen, International Trade Representative, Minnesota Trade Office

Doug Stone
Doug Stone Communications, LLC
651-698-9390 (office);  651-336-9907 (mobile)

Human Trafficking Explained

Assignment: Attend this press conference on April 28 to learn more about human trafficking crimes against immigrants.
File a report for the Morning Blend.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Federal immigration officials will hold a media availability Tuesday to get out the message about assistance for immigrants who are victims of human trafficking, domestic violence and other serious crimes. The speakers, including representatives of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), will also hold training and outreach for law enforcement and community groups to give them tools to help victims become survivors.

Officials will explain how traffickers lure vulnerable men, women and minors with false promises of a better life, only to enslave and abuse them. They will also explain how victims of crime can find help, including assistance with immigration matters. The news conference will include a question and answer session and one-on-one opportunities. More information about immigration benefits for victims is available at

In the last 18 months alone, USCIS has held 21 national webinars for more than 4,000 law enforcement officers, community groups, and practitioners. In addition, USCIS officials have traveled to more than 30 cities in a multi-year drive to educate the public, emergency responders, law enforcement officers, health care professionals and community advocacy groups about programs to protect victims.

WHO: Amany Ezeldin, Adjudications Officer (Policy), USCIS Office of Policy and Strategy,
Washington, D.C.
Mike Netherland, Special Agent-in-Charge, HSI St. Paul
WHEN: Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 11:00 a.m. (Please allow 15 minutes to clear security)

WHERE: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
2901 Metro Dr.
Bloomington, MN 55425

CONTACTS: Tim Counts, USCIS Public Affairs Officer
Office: 952-853-2827; cell: 952-232-7971; email
Shawn Neudauer, ICE Public Affairs Officer
Office: 612-843-8985; cell: 952-250-7133; email

Minneapolis to Collect Organics

Assignment: Do an interview or report on this initiative in the City of Minneapolis to collect organics.

Organics recycling is coming to Minneapolis
Sign up to get an organics cart

April 20, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) Minneapolis residents are big recyclers. They already save plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, paper, cartons and other containers from homes for their recycling pickup. Soon, they will also be able to save their organics for the City to collect for composting as well.

Sign up now
The organics recycling carts will be distributed only to customers who opt in. More than 10,000 households have already signed up. The carts will be distributed in two phases: about a quarter of households will have service available in August 2015 and the rest in spring 2016. Once residents get their carts, they can start filling them with organics in a compostable bag.

Last week, the City mailed packets of information to eligible residents to help them learn about organics recycling and to encourage them to sign up.

Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling customers can request a cart by emailing – they should make sure to include their address – or by calling 612-673-2917.

What will be collected?
Organics collection will include all food scraps, including fruits, vegetables, bones, meat trimmings, breads, pasta, nut shells, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags and dairy products. Organics collection also includes food-soiled paper that can’t be recycled, including paper towels, napkins, facial tissues, waxed paper, egg cartons and pizza boxes. Just make sure the paper is not lined with plastic. Other things that can go into organics recycling include wood chopsticks, wood Popsicle sticks, toothpicks, dryer lint, animal and human hair, certified compostable plastic and houseplant trimmings.

Some of these items can’t be managed in a backyard compost bin, so people who do their own composting at home can still benefit from the program. And collection continues all year round, so people who put their own composting on hold in the winter benefit from the collections too.

What won’t be collected?
Items not accepted include milk cartons, plastic-lined paper products, vacuum cleaner bags, liquids, oils, greases and fats. If an item can go into the regular recycling, it should go there instead of in the organics collection. Yard waste must remain separate; customers should keep using yard waste collection for branches, leaves, grass clippings and other outside plant material.

How does it work?
Just like having a separate bag or container to collect recyclables at home, people use separate containers for organics recycling. It is recommended that home users keep a small organics container conveniently near the kitchen to collect materials.

There is no reason to expect a new household smell from organics; separating organics doesn’t introduce any new materials that aren’t already there. It’s simply putting them in a different place to make use of a resource, instead of managing it as trash.

Residents now get a black cart for garbage and a blue one for recycling. Organics will be collected in green carts. Any organics from the home can be put in the green cart for pickup on the weekly collection day. Organics will need to be placed in compostable bags inside the cart to keep it clean year-round and to avoid freezing to it in the winter.

With people starting to divert “garbage” into the organics recycling, a lot of people will be able to switch to smaller garbage carts if they want to and save $3 every month on their utility bills.

Composting creates a resource out of valuable materials that would otherwise become trash. Using compost returns nutrients to the soil, reduces erosion, and reduces the needs for watering and for chemical fertilizers.

For more information visit

Law Enforcement Urges $ for Early Learning

Assignment:  Attend this press event on Wednesday, April 22 and file a report for the Morning Blend

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE          CONTACT:    Jennifer Arnold

                                                                                                              (508) 439-0413





Minnesota Law Enforcement Leaders Support High-Quality

Early Learning to Reduce Future Crime


WHO:             Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek

Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie

Ramsey County Sheriff Matthew Bostrom

WHAT:          News conference to release I’m the Guy You Pay Later, a brief linking the importance of quality early learning to future crime reduction, and calling for a minimum investment of $150 million annually in preschool programs.

WHERE:        YWCA of Minneapolis Children’s Center at Midtown

2121 East Lake Street

Minneapolis, MN 55407

WHEN:          9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 22


On behalf of 82 Minnesota police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie and Ramsey County Sheriff Matthew Bostrom are encouraging lawmakers to expand access of high-quality early learning opportunities for Minnesota children as a first step toward reducing future crime.


The local law enforcement leaders will make their case with the release of a brief, I’m the Guy You Pay Later. Speaking in person at the event, the Sheriffs will describe how quality early learning experiences prepare children for long-term academic success, thereby reducing the likelihood they will turn to crime in later years. Approximately 20 percent of Minnesota students fail to graduate from high school on time, and research in the report shows that nationwide seven in 10 prison inmates do not have a high school diploma.

The law enforcement leaders will also discuss how raising academic achievement and graduation rates could save public dollars. Minnesota currently spends more than $487 million on prisons and corrections to incarcerate about 9,950 adults each year. The law enforcement leaders will urge lawmakers to provide a minimum investment of $150 million annually for the state’s preschool program, which would enable approximately 20,000 more children to participate. The brief projects that providing this investment of $150 million in preschool could help Minnesota reduce its prisoners by nearly 1,000 each year and save $49 million annually in corrections costs. This is only one part of larger savings from the investment that the brief highlights—at least $520 million for each graduating preschool class in the long term.

# # #

Rhythm of Saints

Assignment:  Attend rehearsals and follow the progress of developing the youth percussion group “Rhythm of the Saints“. File a report for the Morning Blend.

Kids Tryouts for Rhythm of the Saints

What:     When the St. Paul Saints baseball team open the season and unveil their brand new ballpark in Lowertown, there will be a group of 25 young people drumming on buckets and break dancing to welcome the fans and celebrate the event. We are calling it Rhythm of the Saints, and we’re recruiting kids between the ages of 12 and 18 to come and audition. The group will perform at most of the Saints home games as well as some local festivals.

Rehearsals will be starting shortly after the tryouts, and with the expert help of the award winning singer and producer J.D. Steele, choreographer Giselle Mejia and world class drummer Marc Anderson, this group will drum, dance and sing their way into Saints’ fans’ hearts.

Who:     Marc Anderson, Director, M2 Foundation and St. Paul Youth Drum and Dance

Giselle Mejia, Co-Director, Curio Dance

J.D. Steele, The Steeles, Rondor/Universal music in Los Angeles, CA

When: Sunday, April 12, 2015, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Where: At the new St. Paul Saints CHS Baseball Field in Lowertown, St. Paul,

[Intersection of Fifth Street and Broadway Street]

CTUL Pushes for $15 Minimum Wage

Assignment:  Attend this press conference today (March 31)  and file a report or interview for the Morning Blend


Minneapolis workers who are part of the nationwide Fight for $15 will make a major announcement Tuesday about the movement’s next steps.

WHO: Minneapolis fast food workers organizing with CTUL, together with airport workers, home healthcare workers, other low-wage workers who are part of the Fight for $15
WHAT: Major Announcement
WHEN: Tuesday, March 31 at 4:00pm
WHERE: McDonald’s, 4131 Hiawatha Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55406


Two-and-a-half years after it launched in New York City, with 200 cooks and cashiers walking off their jobs, people working in a range of different industries (including home care, airport services, retail and academia) in the US and around the world have joined the Fight for $15 movement. What seemed crazy— workers’ demand for $15 an hour—has caught on and is now reality in SeaTac, Seattle and San Francisco. From coast to coast, cities, states and companies are racing to raise wages well above the federal minimum of $7.25. Now Democrats and leading economists are increasingly pointing to strengthening working Americans’ freedom to form unions as a key solution to boost wages and restore broad-based prosperity, something fast-food workers have been saying since their first strike in November, 2012.

On Tuesday, the Fight for $15, — the movement Slate said, “managed to completely rewire how the public and politicians think about wages;” MSNBC said “entirely changed the politics of the country;” and Fortune said, “transformed labor organizing from a process often centered on nickel-and-dime negotiations with a single employer into a social justice movement that transcends industry and geographic boundaries,” — will unveil plans for its next major mobilization, including multiple events in Minneapolis.