Ward 6 News ~ February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

Native Community Honors Robert Lilligren

This past Wednesday, Feb. 22 highly respected American Indian leaders, community members, family and friends gathered to recognize and honor the work of Minneapolis City Council Vice President and White Earth Member Robert Lilligren. Erma Vizenor, White Earth Tribal Chair, attended the feast and program held at All Nation’s Church at 1515 East 23rd St. in the 6th Ward. Chair Vizenor presented Lilligren with a beautiful Pendleton blanket on behalf of the Band. “When I walk into Minneapolis City Hall and see Robert’s name on the wall as a Council Member there I think ‘he’s ours, he’s one of us’ and it makes me so proud!” said Chair Vizenor.

Marlene Hagelmo, Pastor of All Nation’s Church and Sharon Day, Director of The Indigenous Peoples Task Force, also in the 6th Ward took the lead on coordinating this event. Well-known community elders praised Lilligren’s work including Clyde Bellecourt who said, “I can’t believe he was only eight years old when the American Indian Movement was formed. Things are different now. When something happens in the community we can make a call to city hall and we have access.”

Former Minneapolis Library Board Member Laura Waterman Wittstock spoke of Lilligren’s hard work to promote relationships between elected officials and American Indian community members. Former Minneapolis School Board Member Peggy Flanagan thanked Lilligren for his dedication, expertise and work on her campaign. “When Robert says he will help you, you’re like YES!” said Flanagan.

Several speakers recognized Lilligren’s considerable efforts to help elect Susan Allen to the Minnesota State House of Representatives. “When I started my campaign Robert was one of the first people to help. He really listened to me. Through Robert I learned that politics is about telling your story to people. He helped me tell my story and to find my voice,” said the recently elected Representative Allen who is the first Native woman to ever serve in the MN State House.

The emcee for the evening was Justin Huenemann, President and CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) the organization spearheading the Cultural Corridor project on Franklin Avenue and whose board Lilligren chairs. Other speakers included Robert’s father retired WCCO announcer Chuck Lilligren who is an accomplished Ojibwe speaker; State Representative Karen Clark; Minneapolis City Council Members Elizabeth Glidden (Ward 8) and Gary Schiff (Ward 9); and several other community members.

Mike Goeze, Executive Director of the American Indian Community Development Corporation, JoAnne Stately from the Minneapolis Foundation and Marlene Hagelmo presented Lilligren with a beautiful Ribbon Shirt hand crafted by Stately. Though there had been no coordination of efforts between the two, the ribbon shirt perfectly matched the color scheme of the blanket Vizenor had presented earlier.

Sharon Day presented Lilligren with the precious gift and medicine of sema (tobacco) she had personally grown. Day also spoke of the history of the modern Native Two Spirit movement. She remembered the first International Two Spirit Society meeting held in Minneapolis during the late 1980s. As a participant herself, she told the story of the lack of visibility of LGBT people in the Native community and how planners needed to “come out” to the Frannie Fairbanks, the Director of the Minneapolis American Indian Center on Franklin Avenue, when they asked her to use the Center for their event. Day remarked on how far Two Spirit people had come, indicating Representative Susan Allen and Lilligren, both of whom are openly gay.

Food was “crockpot potluck” and covered a range of Native and local favorites. Along with Lilligren’s father Chuck were his mother Marge and eldest sister Lesley. Lilligren thanked the crowd and noted, “When I was first elected ten years ago I was the first Tribal Member ever elected to office in the City of Minneapolis. Now there have been four. All of them are in this room tonight. I call that progress. Let’s keep making progress!”
Irma Robert Peggy
In photo above at the All Nations Indian Church from L to R is Erma Vizenor, Robert Lilligren and Peggy Flanagan

Mondays with Robert

Council Member Lilligren has always believed that it's important for regular people to have access to government. Robert is still committed to that value today. For that reason, Robert makes himself available to community member visits on a walk-in and appointment basis.

You can meet with Robert on the first four Mondays of the month at each of the neighborhoods he represents. Call or email Alondra at 673-2206 or alondra.cano@minneapolismn.gov to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, however - you will be asked to wait if there is a scheduled appointment.

NOTE: There will be no Community Office Hours when the Monday lands on a City holiday or conflicts with another City Council‐related meeting. Translation is available by appointment.

First Monday of the Month
Whittier Alliance, 10 E. 25th Street
9:30am - 11:30am

Second Monday of the Month
Phillips West, LSS Bldng (2400 Park Ave.)
9:30am - 11:30am

Third Monday of the Month
Stevens Square, 1925 Nicollet Ave.
9:30am - 11:30am

Fourth Monday of the Month
Ventura Village, 2323 11th Ave. S.
2nd Floor of Phillips Community Center
9:30am - 11:30am

Community Highlight

Phillips West Neighborhood Organization recently celebrated its 15th Annual Winter Social Event. The event took place on February 9th from 5 to 8 pm at the Lutheran Social Service Center for Changing Lives. Once again it was a great success, with more than 300 people in attendance. This is THE social event of the winter season in Phillips West. Council Member Lilligren gave welcoming remarks and introduced State Rep. Karen Clark, who represents the Phillips West Neighborhood at the Capitol.
Neighborhood residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations come together to plan and produce the Winter Social. Area organizations provide attendees information about their programs and activities at tables in the Center for Changing Lives atrium. Drawings are held for great prizes provided by local businesses and groups. This year door prizes were 10 Global Market gift cards, two Hotel rooms from the Midtown Sheraton, duffle bags from Minnesota Teen Challenge and beautiful art work.
And there is food, food, food! This year’s menu was veggie pasta salad, beef/chicken taco buffet, cream, salsa, cheese, guacamole & chips, macaroni & cheese, chicken nuggets, fresh cut fruit and for desserts there were six sheet cakes of chocolate and vanilla! Most dishes come from area restaurants and stores. Everyone left well fed and full of the good cheer that comes from spending time socializing with your neighbors.
This event started 15 years ago in the beautiful Victorian home of legendary Phillips West community activist Muriel Simmons on the corner 27th St. and Portland Ave. The Phillips West Neighborhood, then District 1 of People of Phillips, faced significant challenges in crime, safety and blight. Ms. Simmons sought to bring positive activities to the neighborhood and opportunities for neighbors to celebrate successes. Muriel and her talented family cooked the delicious food that year as they did for many subsequent Socials. Robert Lilligren, a fellow neighborhood activist at the time, was at the first Winter Social and he has attended every one ever since. From the first years at Muriel’s house, to the former Messiah Lutheran Church School, the former Shriners Event Center (now St. Mary’s Event Center) before landing at the LSS Center for Changing Lives several years ago. This is a community building tradition that keeps growing each year and Council Member Lilligren has been there to support the growth of this tradition every step of the way.
winter social again 2012
In photo above: Council Vice President Robert Lilligren Robert greets friends and neighbors at the 2012 Phillips West Social

We want to hear about your highlights!

We know lots of stuff is happening in the wonderful world of the 6th Ward so help us share the news. If you have a meaningful project that you are helping to lead, are a part of, or know about please tell us know so we can include it in our regular newsletters. Getting featured in our highlights section is as easy as one, two, three! Send us an email at Ward06CouncilOffice@minneapolismn.gov with 1) a 250 word or less description of what's happening, 2) a photo that we could use to depict the highlight, and 3) your full name, title (if applicable), and contact information. We look forward to hearing from you!

Cleaner Air, Sustainable Energy

Over half of the air pollution in our state comes from cars and trucks. This is why the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) seeks to install 76 charging stations for electric vehicles (EV’s) throughout Minneapolis and the metro area. Electric vehicles have no emissions from their tail pipes and the electricity required can be generated by cleaner sources and can be generated locally which promotes energy independence. To install these charging stations, the MPCA applied for federal funds targeted to improve air quality.

Investment in the infrastructure to support EV’s is important to help build the market. The manufacturers of EV’s will target regions that are prepared to provide services like recharging stations. This investment by the MPCA will help build that market.

Council Member Lilligren led the charge to provide $500 thousand of federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds to the project in his role as chair of the Programming Committee of the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB).

The City of Minneapolis is a partner in a private/public coalition called Drive Electric Minnesota that promotes increasing the number of EV’s in our region. Minneapolis, along with Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Airports Commission, that operations Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport, recently introduced EV’s into our fleet of vehicles with a grant from Xcel Energy.

The $500 thousand grant that Council Member Lilligren help secure for the MPCA will install charging stations in strategic areas like park and ride facilities and ramps. These charging stations help address “range anxiety” for EV owners and will lend confidence to those considering purchasing an EV. Range anxiety is a term used to describe the concern over how far an electric vehicle can go on its battery charge. The MPCA request for funds came to the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) which is part of the Metropolitan Council, our regional government. The TAB allocates around $90 million of federal transportation funds each year. Robert has represented the City of Minneapolis on the TAB since 2002. He has worked his way up into TAB leadership where he now serves as co-chair of one of the most important arms of the TAB – the Programming Committee.
Electric vehicle

Above in photo: On Nov. 2, 2011 Council Member Lilligren joined State Senator Scott Dibble, MPCA Commissioner Paul Aasan and other members of the Drive Electric MN coalition at the Minneapolis Convention Center to unveil the all-electric Ford Transit Connect vans that the City of Minneapolis are introducing into our fleet.


Hiawatha Transmission Line Project

Open House - Save the Date!

Tuesday, Feb. 28th
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Plaza Verde (3rd Floor)
1516 E. Lake St.

Xcel Energy is hosting an open house to share updates on the construction timing of the underground line, substation wall design public outreach efforts, and permitted route and substation locations. Please come to hear updates on this important project in your neck of the woods.

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From the Office of City Council Vice President Robert Lilligren
350 South 5th Street, City Hall, Room 307, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Robert.Lilligren@minneapolismn.gov · Ward 6 website · (612) 673-2206

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