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Think Again Brooklyns

Climate Change and Corporate Accountability after Hurricane Florence

Hogwash and its Aftermath

"North Carolina is home to the second-largest concentration of pig-raising facilities in the United States (behind only Iowa). The state has more than 2,200 pork CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) holding more than nine million pigs and more than 3,900 poultry operations. More than 90 percent of that state’s pork production is controlled by just one company: Smithfield. Smithfield’s parent company, the Chinese WH Group, is the largest pork processor in the world and worth $15 billion."

Just prior to Hurricane Florence, manure was overapplied in fields, releasing climate warming nitrous oxide gas into the air. The harm done was not limited to emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs), but the manure was then washed into floodwaters that spread it over a vast terrain. Read the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) article based on research completed last summer by GRAIN and IATP.

Leading CAFO States

Note that MN is also a leading industrial farming state with accompanying huge greenhouse gas emissions, and widespread lake, river, and acquifer pollution, especially in the southern and western areas of the state. The high level of air pollution causes increased health care problems, especially respiratory illness, for people living within two miles of a factory farm.

Upcoming Candidate Forums, Oct 17 to Nov 4, 2018

meet the candidates

Live, Radio, TV, and Internet Video


House District 40A, Osseo District 279 School Board Forum

Wednesday, October 17

Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N

6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. - House District 40A - Mike Nelson (DFL) and David True (R)

7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. - Osseo, District 279 School Board Candidates
Elect 3 Osseo School Board Members, District 279 - Heidi R. Clayman, Jessica Craig, Kelsey Dawson Walton, David Dostal, Sizi G. Goyah, Dan Hobot, Miamon Queeglay, Cindy Shevlin-Woodcock, Tanya Simons
Special Election - James E. Burgett and Jackie Mosqueda-Jones

Osseo School District 279 Forum
Monday, October 22            7 to 8:30 p.m.
Maple Grove Middle School, 7000 Hemlock Lane, Maple Grove, MN

Hennepin County Attorney Candidate Forum 

Tuesday, October 23          7 to 8:15 p.m.
North High School, 1500 James Ave N, Minneapolis

Candidates: Mike Freeman and Mark Haase

Sponsors: League of Women Voters Golden Valley, ACLU, National Council of Jewish Women Minnesota, Immigrant Law Center, Jewish Community Action

Congressional District 3 Media Debates
 - Erik Paulsen & Dean Phillips

TPT Almanac Debate           Friday, October 19           7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

KSTP at Issue Debate          Sunday, October 21         10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Almanac Gubernatorial Debate:  Jeff Johnson & Tim Walz

TPT Debate           Friday, November 2         7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

MPR U.S. Senate Debate and Gubernatorial Debate

Sunday, November 4

Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E Exchange St, St Paul, MN

5 p.m. - Karin Housley and Tina Smith

6 p.m. - Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz

Free and open to the public

The debate will be streamed at and aired live on MPR News.


Links to Upcoming Candidate Forums, Oct 17 to Nov 4, 2018

meet the candidates

League of Women Voters, Chamber of Commerce
TV and Radio Forums

The last of the forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters' chapter that that serves Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Center and the North Hennepin Area Chamber of Commerce will be October 17.  Forums for candidates not covered by our local organizations will be presented by other organizations and by the media including TPT and KSTP television and Minneapolis Public Radio.  These forums and debates will cover candidates for Governor, Congressional District 3, U.S. Senate, and Hennepin County Attorney.  Click here for the details on location, dates, time, and candidates.

Be prepared for Changes to Medicare in 2019

 End of Medicare Cost Plans

Wednesday, October 10         1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Holy Nativity Lutheran Church

3900 Winnetka Avenue N, New Hope, MN 55427

Learn the facts about the new government regulated Medicare shift and what it means to you. Many seniors have or will be receiving notice in the mail that their Medicare supplement plan is going away.  Think Again MN is letting you know about this forum because so many seniors need to choose a new insurance policy and have just a short time to do so.  Holy Nativity Lutheran Church's seminar is the first one we have seen near Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center on what this change means for people on Medicare so we wanted to be sure you know about it.

Gene MontanezThe speaker is Gene Montanez, a long term expert in Medicare programs and supplements and member of the Robbinsdale Senior Commission.

Cost plans will no longer be offered in Minnesota? The fact is that over 360,000 Medicare policies in counties within the metro area will be going away. All current cost health plans will be replaced with Advantage plans.  What is the difference between the plans?

Open enrollment for new plans begins October 15th and ends December 7. Are you prepared? Do you understand your options? Attend this free seminar open to Holy Nativity members and the public.

The Senior Ministry team will be hosting a new program for seniors the second Wednesday of every month at Holy Nativity Lutheran Church. All are welcome.


The 2020 U.S. Census



Changing Demographics and
the Importance of the Census

Tuesday, Septe
mber 18           
6 p.m. - Pizza and Salad Buffet           6:30 p.m. - Program

Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue N

Angel Smith 2                     
         City of Brooklyn Center
     Communications Coordinator


Susan Brower - State Demographer

A Star Tribune article earlier this week highlighted what’s at stake and how Minnesotans are preparing for the 2020 Census. Susan Brower’s office of demographic experts helps lead Minnesota’s effort to ensure everyone is counted. She’ll talk about the state’s changing demographics, the importance of the census, and why at least one proposed census question is controversial.

susan browerSusan Brower is the Minnesota State Demographer and has directed the MN State Demographic Center since February 2012. In that capacity, she travels the state talking with Minnesotans about the new social and economic realities that are brought about by recent demographic shifts. Susan's work applies an understanding of demographic trends to changes in a range of areas including the state's economy and workforce, education, health, immigration and rural population changes.

Susan joined the State Demographic Center after working as a researcher on the Minnesota Compass project at Wilder Research in St. Paul. Prior to that, she worked at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan.  Susan earned her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Michigan, specializing in demography and family sociology. She also holds a master's degree in public policy from Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. 

Why the Census is Important for Residents of MN - Ellisa Johnson

Ellisa Johnson, Partnership Coordinator for the Chicago Region of the 2020 Census, will explain the planning process underway for the 2020 Census, employment opportunities related to the Census, how Census results will impact MN, and why it's important for all residents to participate in the Census.

Denise ButlerYouth Participation in the Census - Denise Butler

Denise Butler, Program Coordinator, African Career, Education, and Resources Inc. will describe how young people can prepare to participate in Census activities and the benefits of their participation.

You will have an opportunity for questions and discussion after the presentations.

Osseo District 279 School Board Candidate Forum

Osseo Public Schools Creating EquityThursday, October 4             7 to 9 p.m.

St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church
7180 Hemlock Lane N, Maple Grove, MN 55369
(Just south of Highway 694)

The Osseo School district is one of the most racially diverse districts in the state. It is also a district where the equity gap between white students and students of color persists when it comes to academic achievement and school suspensions. Osseo has a key opportunity to close these gaps and lead the state in terms of educating a diverse student body. But we need our leaders to make it happen!

Read more ...

Immigrants' Contribution to MN's Business Success

As MN's Population Grows Older
Immigrants Contribute to MN's Business Success
Youth Present Business Plans at NDCYouth Present Business Plans at Neighborhood Devlopment Center

Wednesday, September 26                 10 a.m. to Noon

Banquet Room, Maple Grove Community Center, 12951 Weaver Lake Road, Maple Grove MN

RSVP on Facebook: or to Carol Woehrer, 763-607-4287

You and your friends will enjoy this forum with two speakers who celebrate the contributions of immigrants' to MN's economy. The event Minnesota's state demographers have been discussing for years, has arrived - the retirement of the large cohort born after World War II called the "Baby Boomers,"  which brings with it several big changes in Minnesota's work force. Both speakers will include references to MN's changing demographics which are causing a decline in MN's labor force and a need for additional services, especially in health care, while providing career opportunities for MN's new immigrants.

bill blazarAn Overview of Immigrants' Contributions - Bill Blazar
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Business Development
Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Leader, Minnesota Business Immigration Coalition

Bill Blazar is a past member and chair of the board of the Government Relations Council. He has also served in a leadership capacity for Minnesota's P16 Education Partnership, the Minnesota Health Data Institute, and the Citizens League. Bill Blazar will speak on Immigrants' Contributions to Minnesota, their importance to Minnesota's economy, and ways to assure their success through education and good jobs.

lyna nyamwayaImmigrants' Important Role in Health Care - Lyna Nyamwaya
RN, PHN, Administrative Manager, North Memorial Health
Doctor of Nursing Practice Student

Lyna Nyamwaya is Founder and President of the African Nurses Network, Inc., a nonprofit organization which aims to make nurses of color visible by creating and providing opportunities for underserved populations. Ms. Nyamwaya will speak on immigrants' extensive participation in health care from working in beginning positions serving as nursing assistants to providing highly specialized care as physicians.

Think Again MN BW Banner Logo Medium                             
                    Maple Grove
                Senior Center

The #MeToo Movement

How Is the Me Too Movement Influencing Public Policy?

Tuesday, July 17
6:00 p.m. - Free Pizza Buffet and Social               6:30 p.m. - Program

Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers
5200 85th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN

Please RSVP on Facebook or to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 - Asma Mohammed, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment


leslie lienemannLeslie L. Lienemann, a partner at Culberth & Lienemann, LLP, has devoted her entire career to representing working people in employment and civil rights cases including harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, employment contracts, defamation, wage claims, school bullying and police excessive force. Ms. Lienemann is a frequent speaker at local, regional, and national legal seminars on topics relating to employment law.  She has been active in present and past leadership roles in the Employee Lawyers Association of the Upper Midwest, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association and 8th Circuit NELA.  As part of the MN NELA Amicus Committee, Ms. Lienemann  co-authored more than a dozen amicus briefs submitted to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court covering a variety of important employment law questions.   Minnesota Law & Politicsmagazine named her to the Rising Stars list in 1998 and since then to the annual Super Lawyers.   

melissa hortmanjoycepeppinMelissa Hortman - House Republican Majority Leader Joyce Peppin (left) proposed adding a single new line to the Minnesota Human Rights Act’s definition of sexual harassment: “An intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment does not require the harassing conduct or communication to be severe or pervasive.”  DFL Minority Leader Melissa Hortman in the House and Senator Karin Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point, in the Senate introduced identical bills with her statement.  Representative Hortman will discuss the outcome of the legislation and how it will effect the legislature, state government, and employment.

 Representatives from Cornerstone and the Brooklyn Park Police Department will also talk about their policies.

Thank you to the organizers of the July forum:  Linda Freemon and Florkime Paye  


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Share Your Ideas for Biking and Walking to LRT Stations

Hennepin County Transit leaders would like the suggestions of Brooklyn Park residents who bike or walk near the areas where the Bottineau Extention of the Blue Line Light Rail will stop.  Attendees who attended the March Think Again Brooklyns forum shared their suggestions for biking and walking routes to LRT Stations and you can too.  If you are a biker or walker near any of the future LRT stops, you are likely to have insight into how access to a station can be improved for bikers or walkers. 

Before you begin, let me ask you, have you ever seen a bike path along a busy street that rarely has a biker? 

Let me give you an example.  When we go to doctors' appointments in Abbott Northwestern Hospital or the Phillips Eye Clinic, we park on Portland or Park Avenues.  I'm usually careful to check if there is a bicyclist coming along the bike path right next to the parked cars, but I have never seen a bicyclist on either of the avenues.  Why is that?  Jay Wallsjasper, who has bicycled in cities across the U.S. has answered that in an excellent short article.

Bike Breakthrough
Connecting neighborhoods with low-stress routes

Jay Walljasper, November 9, 2017

bike paths protected from traffic

Jay emphasizes that bike routes need to be safe, and if they aren’t, people won’t use them.  Most bikers know that they might not fare so well if someone knocks them over by opening their car door on their right when traffic is going by to their left.  Jay includes photos that show how the bike lane should be separated from traffic by a barrier and gives suggestions for making intersections safer for bikers.  Read his short article that will give you insight and inspiration for your suggestions and will remind you of the joys of biking around town.

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at

Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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