May 12, 2011

General Membership Meeting Minutes 05-12

May 12th, 2011, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center 
2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address:
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

                Attending Board Members: Chiffon Williams, Mary Gonsior, Carol Pass, Steve Struthers, Earl Simms, Linda Leonard

            6:30            Introduction:
·         Greetings and Introductions
·          Approval of Agenda (BP, CP) Agenda approved as amended
·          Minutes from EPIC General Membership Meeting 4/14/2011 approved (CP, SS)
         6:40    Announcements:
·         NRP Task Force – If you want to be a part of this committee, Contact Carol Pass, 612- 280-8418
                 ·         Meeting times will be announced, and will be arranged to match schedules of committee members.
·         Elected Board Members are: Chiffon Williams, Linda Leonard, Rosie Cruz, Earl Simms, Mary Gonsior, and Steve Struthers
·         The new Executive Committee is Carol Pass, President: Jennie Bjorgo, Vice President: Steve Struthers, Secretary: and Mary Gonsior, Treasurer

                7:00        Soccer fields Update: Al Bangoura was not available

                7:10        Community Energy Use Strategies: How to have our power be OUR  POWER through Community Action with Timothy Denherder-Thomas.

                                Tim began working on energy issues as a student at Macalister, and for the past 3 years on energy issues and sustainability. He has been focusing on identifying the energy needs of the seven neighborhoods (Phillips (4),  Corcoran, Central, and Powderhorn). These seven neighborhoods spend more than $63M every year on energy.  This includes commercial, industrial and residential buildings and personal vehicles, and includes the hospitals in the neighborhoods. 25-30 individuals have been meeting bi-weekly, as a S. Mpls. Community Energy Planning Process, to create a guide for developing a community energy plan, in a way that is socially just and promotes social economic development. As a coalition and a process, the group seeks to work collaboratively with Xcel Energy, as long as it doesn't hinder their ability to achieve their goals.

                                The group would like to collaborate with neighborhood organizations for the purpose of community outreach, education, and more. Tim provided a list of actions that would be helpful to the cause, and allow people in the community to take part in the work.

                                How can EPIC help?
·         Cosponsoring grant applications
·         Consider assisting youth internship funding
·         Provide some financial assistance with translation
·         Contract with Tim to organize E. Phillips residents

MOTION: EPIC will write a contract with Timothy/Our Power through Community Action for $3,000 to write grants and do energy-sustainability organizing in E. Phillips. (CP, ES) After discussion, the motion was withdrawn by CP.

                MOTION: The leadership of EPIC will confer with the leadership of Timothy/"Our Power through Community Action" about the possibility of writing a contract with a list of specific deliverables, to be presented for approval to the membership of EPIC in June. (CP, BP)  Motion passed.

7:25          Contracting for Meeting Attending, Research, Grant writing

Shirley Heyer is no longer serving on the board of Midtown, and is working as an independent consultant. Since she is a good grant-writer, and knows our issues very well, should EPIC consider hiring her for grant writing projects. We need someone to track issues, attend meetings and write reports.

MOTION: EPIC approves Shirley Heyer as a potential independent consultant for researching and developing grant writing projects. (LL, CP) Motion passed.

8:10          Motion regarding neighborhood noise and zoning ordinances

                  With the Smith Foundry, Bituminous Roadway, EPIC. We have some very heavy industry in close proximity to residential housing.

                  MOTION: We recognize the unusual and non-ideal situation in E. Phillips, where there is heavy industry bordering residential housing and we call attention to the need for ideal long-range planning for this situation. And, that for the health and well being of residents and families, we request all relevant governmental and regulatory agencies with oversight of environmental, health, livability and zoning  ordinances to pay increased attention and follow through with enforcement of current ordinances relevant to industrial activities in close proximity to the residential housing of East Phillips. (SS, ES) Motion passes.

7:25          NRP Update: Q & A on NRP Bill in the legislature. What’s at stake…What to do…What does this mean for us. 

                  EPIC residents are encouraged to write to as many legislators as possible over the next 10 days. A talking point for each representative in the house or senate was provided along with emails. Another handout highlighted the money spent by EPIC, the funds that were leveraged and the projects completed, and the additional tax revenue that was generated by NRP projects in EPIC alone.

7:45          Working on NRP Phase II Plan

                  EPIC's Draft NRP Phase II Action Plan was passed out. We will continue to hold the survey open, but the way it is trending is getting clear.  Items were discussed. Percentages of money considered. The 70% plus 30% issue discussed. People wanrt to hold the 30% for things other than housing. That is what the vote tells us. Revolving loan for rehab explained. Questions about Greenway Apartments, Approval stated by the group for the family housing. Questions about exactly what youth plans. EPIC can spell out with precision when we have the allocation. Members were asked to read the plan carefully at home and send comments and suggestion, sending your remarks to Carol by May 31, 2011 if possible. We need to make decisions, if possible, at the June Board meeting, and present the plan to the community at the June membership meeting, if possible. The legislative work is slowing down our work on the Plan.


8:10          Crime Concerns and Other Livability Issues:  Information Intake and discussion

Over the past two weeks, one of the gentlemen from the townhomes was assaulted. The teenage son of a neighbor went out to assist, and both were beaten. The assailants came back later with guns. The residents are very concerned that their children are not able to play on the play lot due to threats from older children.

In the past, when they have called the Police, they are asked why do you live here? They do not know how to effectively deal with the Police and the crime. They don't know how to press the dispatcher, get good descriptions, ask for a report, how to follow up, etc.

EPIC needs a way to educate neighbors about crime reporting, how to report crimes, etc. EPIC should probably reconstitute a neighborhood patrol to foster friendship and community among neighbors.

8:30       Adjournment: