Barry Lytton


School leaders seek to expand smoke-free plan

As smokers at the University of Minnesota are being asked to put out their cigarettes on campus, the school is branching out past its borders to encourage those living in the area to do the same. The University’s Office for Off-Campus Living is partnering with the Minneapolis Health Department and Live Smoke Free to ask landlords in the area to update their leases to include a smoke-free policy.

Library needs help, study says

Much-needed improvements to the only public library in the University of Minnesota area will get some consideration  after a report was released Thursday. The study outlines 12 possible improvements the Southeast Library can make to better serve the surrounding neighborhoods, propelling the county library into a more contemporary version of itself. The outlined improvements include a more advanced computer system, a new role for the librarian and a push past the traditional system of book lending.

Prospect Park takes action to address winter street parking woes

Unlike several other University of Minnesota neighborhoods, Prospect Park’s streets are winding, narrow and not laid out in a grid system. In winter months, snow combined with two lanes of street parking tends to congest the area’s roads, prompting its residents to take action to remedy seasonal traffic concerns.

Neighborhoods prep for Vikings grants

As the Minnesota Vikings football team wraps up its inaugural season at TCF Bank Stadium, neighborhood groups are pulling together grant proposals for the pot of money the team donates to the University of Minnesota area. This year, 16 local organizations are eligible to apply for the Good Neighbor Fund, whose 2014 and 2015 grant cycles swelled to $132,000 thanks to two yearly $90,000 grants from the Vikings.

West Bank cleanups enter second year of cleanups

After Cedar-Riverside businesses complained for years that graffiti and street trash were deterring customers from the area, the West Bank Business Association banded together with other local organizations to clean up their neighborhood. The WBBA is now gearing up for a second year of seasonal community cleanups to rid the area of graffiti and litter, said its executive director, Jamie Schumacher. In 2015, the group plans to increase its quarterly efforts and sweep through the West Bank area on a monthly basis.

A living ‘bridge’ between West Bank and local law enforcement

From Carla Nielson’s desk in the West Bank Safety Center — where she sits almost every day of the week — venetian blinds are the only obstacle to a perfect view of a busy playground just outside. And during Nielson’s breaks, she sometimes leaves the Riverside Plaza “F” Building to spend time pushing kids on the swings. Nielson, a crime prevention specialist for the Minneapolis Police Department, was recognized last month for the close relationships she’s built with the Cedar-Riverside community — the area she serves.

Students’ co-op shares a second, third, fifth Thanksgiving

While many University of Minnesota students flocked home to eat turkey over the long weekend, 15 people gathered Saturday evening at the Students’ Co-op for another Thanksgiving feast. In the co-op’s basement, the group celebrated the American tradition with a buffet of unconventional holiday foods that included pancakes, noodles and hummus. And while duck replaced the customary turkey, the residents also incorporated Thanksgiving standbys like stuffing, corn and lefse. At the end of the meal, each attendee cleaned his or her own dish.

Burst pipe closes Boynton early

Boynton Health Service shut off its water supply and closed its doors at about 3 p.m. Monday after a water pipe burst. Water collected on the floor of a fourth-floor bathroom at about 2 p.m., said Eric Jensen, Boynton’s marketing and communications manager. The water poured down to lower floors but didn’t affect Boynton’s Dental Clinic, which is located near the burst pipe, Jensen said.

City targets problem properties

University of Minnesota student renters have long complained of poor living conditions and uncooperative landlords. At University Student Legal Service, housing issues account for 30 to 40 percent of the total case load, said staff attorney Bill Dane. Now, a list from the city of Minneapolis officially pinpoints properties that it deems problematic, including eight in the school’s surrounding neighborhoods. City officials hope that the list system, which they began implementing in July, will keep trouble property owners from expanding.

Community internships equally benefit students, neighborhoods

Even though the University of Minnesota’s main campus technically spans as far north as Eighth Street Southeast, many students extend their education into its surrounding neighborhood associations. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, said Ricardo McCurley, director of the Southeast Como Improvement Association — which currently employs five University students as interns. While the students get to autonomously spearhead neighborhood programs, he said, SECIA benefits from their labor, and they play an integral role in the organization’s success.