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Friday April 25th 2014
The Independent Business News Network was established in July of 2008. The goal of IBNN is to provide a different view of the local, national and global news and events that happen in the Black communities around the world. IBNN's expectations are to provide a level of coverage and investigative reporting not seen on local mainstream media, while covering Politics, Education, Money, Business, and Community events. IBNN is an affiliate of Black Politics in Minneapolis, Radical Black USA and other African American news sources. Comments, concerns and questions can be emailed to

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More parents step forward about abuse in the Minneapolis Public Schools

Editors Note: A concerned parent sent this message to IBNN NEWS. This  note is published unedited.

IBNN NEWS is encouraging all parents to mail their complaints about a particular school to

IBNN NEWS is encouraging all parents to mail their complaints about a particular school to

By: A Minneapolis Public School Parent (Name withheld to protect the students privacy)

I had a son at a Minneapolis Public Schools in an upper class school in a upper class neighborhood.

During a Jr High School graduation practice 3 boys were fighting about not wanting to stand next to my son. They were saying he was gay and might get butt F****d. (Sorry, just saying as it is. ) the one boy pulled down his pants, though only exposed his underpants. Someone helping out saw it but didn’t know what was going on. The asst. Principle got after the boys for being disruptive. When my son got home he was clearly upset. We went back to the school and made what we thought was a formal complaint. Tried calling the principal, the next day, did not get back until the end of the day. In the end it got pushed under the rug and the 3 boys walked in their graduation ceremony, went to parties for it and got to go to the amusement park.

The saddest part for us was when 2 of the boys received an award, one for sportsmanship, the other for being a leader. My son finally went back to the principle 2 weeks later, after school had been out for the summer, with a respected adult fit the community who at one point worked for the district and was there that day and saw the boy as he pulled up his pants. My son told the principle how disappointed he was in how the situation was handled and that he still hurt from the mistrust. Still, nothing every got fine. Fast forward to last year, my kids have watched drug deals, seen kids mistreated in front of adults, watched kids get caught with drugs …

Nothing gets done.

The kid that was caught with a drugs was in school the next day. Mpls public schools has no control over discipline because you have to be fair to everyone and give everyone a chance. Sadly we are still stuck with the district for 2 of our children But the school is so it off control (in our opinion, maybe not others and I totally respect that) that our 2 kids are mainly on line, and doing really well … And are happy, social, bright, funny, creative teens.

What happened to the receipts? Revisiting the Tornado Relief Funds ツ

by Ron Edwards, Guest Columnist – IBNN NEWS - As submitted to Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder for their March 14, 2014 edition, for the column: “Through My Eyes,”

Video by IBNN NEWS.

The answer my friend is not blowing in the wind. (photo:\)

The answer my friend is not blowing in the wind. (photo:\)

Minneapolis, Minn. – A shock wave rolled like a tornado through the March 3, 2014 meeting quietly held in an out of the way University of Minnesota location, as the representatives of the State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, and the University of Minnesota, gathered to consider questions raised regarding how tornado relief money following the May 22, 2011 tornado was spent.

Though quietly held, the meeting was not one of secrecy. It was one of quiet inquiry. These oversight agencies finally realized they had incomplete accounting for tornado relief funds spent. Their reputations were at risk. They were caught napping in our age of “forensic accounting” (doing financial autopsies on what some hoped were dead accounting records). This is why they confronted relief distribution organizations and their leaders with specific questions regarding tornado relief funds distribution, as sums in the hundreds of thousands of dollars are unaccountable. How much was actually used to help tornado victims and how much was diverted from such help? Incompetence? Embezzlement? Both?

Recall questions raised in late 2011 and early 2012, because of theStatus Update Report of June 3, 2011, of the Minneapolis Foundation’s Minnesota Help North Minneapolis Recovery Fund, a fund set up to accelerate distribution funded by tremendous donations from corporate Minnesota.

On July 6, 2011, the Minneapolis Foundation and the Greater Twin Cities United Way announced they had raised $513,258 for the Northside Community Response Team (NCRT) relief effort. Elim Transitionary Housing, Inc. had receipts for every penny received and distributed.

This column reported and raised questions about the distribution of relief money (see our columns of 2011):

Disaster accelerates gentrification of North Minneapolis. Reconstruction proceeds without Black workers, June 01, 2011.

When experience and knowledge truly mean something. Real vs. Fake Ministry Responses to the North Minneapolis Tornado, June 8, 2011.

For two and a half years the general public has been told all is in order. No longer. How was over $700,000 marked for tornado relief actually spent? Far less than what the minutes of the Northside Community Response Team of June 10, 2011, at 2 pm, suggest, falsely suggesting happy days were here again. Were over 5,000 families/people really accommodated with these relief funds?

Documents awaiting examination by investigators show tremendous amounts of cash money paid to tornado victims, 80% of whom were African American, out of the benevolence and compassion of organizations who proclaimed membership on the Northside Community Response Team. Was it so?

Why was it that the very respected and beloved African American woman who had worked for 23 years for the Minneapolis Foundation, and who had receipts for every dollar of relief paid out or items bought, lost her position, while others who were unable to produce a record of receipts for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that they said they had provided to residents of North Minneapolis did not lose their positions?

Overseers at the March 3rd meeting want to know accounting documents are accurate, authentic and complete. We know there will be estimation. We await an explanation of the accounting details and why receipts cannot be found.

Given the status update of the June 3, 2011 report and the impressive response to the call to arms to help and provide for citizens who had been battered by the May 22, 2011 tornado, one wonders why blue tarps are still up and why not all people claimed didn’t receive any of the close to $1M in direct contributions, as well as the millions of dollars in federal funds poured into North Minneapolis, in the ensuing months and years after the tornado, as discoered. May those identified June 3 2011, have the opportunity to retrieve their lives and look forward to a more steady future. Anything less is unacceptable.

Stay tuned.

Editors note: this column fits into what a book sub-title calls “Self-Sabotage in Black America.”

For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solution papers, books and archives, go to To order his books go to Beacon on the Hill Press. Tune in Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. to The Ron and Don Show on #BlogTalkRadio

Minneapolis Public Schools preparing a statement about Anderson Elementary School incident

Tune into WCCO-TV channel 5 at 5 p.m. tonight.

Tune into WCCO-TV channel 4 at 5 p.m. tonight.

The Minneapolis Public Schools has confirmed they are preparing a statement about the incident as reported by Ms. Joleana Williams to IBNN NEWS. When IBNN NEWS receives the statement, it will be posted here.

Fifth grade girls allege sexual assault at Anderson Elementary School in Minneapolis

The mother of a 10-year old fifth-grader who attends Anderson Elementary School in south Minneapolis contacted IBNN this afternoon with a torrid tale of alleged sexual assault and the Minneapolis Public Schools not following state and federal procedures.  Why didn’t the parents get notified right away? 

These girls and boys both are asking for help.

These girls and boys are asking for help. Of course If we ask the MPS, they will be put into a “gap.”

 By Donald Allen, founder IBNN NEWS

Minneapolis, Minn. – Joleana Williams, a single mother who will not be bullied by the MPS called IBNN to tell us what happened to her daughter and a friend on March 5 during recess on the playground at Anderson Elementary School in Minneapolis.

At approximately 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 5, three 5th grade boys and two girls were playing chase during recess. The first young girl fell, per the statement given to IBNN from the mother. What happened next is out of a made-for-television horror movie.

One of the boys, (estimated 10 or 11 years old), climbed on top of the girl, while the other boy stood in front of the girl unzipped his pants and exposed his genitals according to Ms. Williams statement to IBNN. Ms. Williams told IBNN, the girl was terrified when the boy “told” her what she was going “suck and lick.”

The fifth grade girls friend, who was also playing with the group had also fell in the snow. According to the story told by Ms. Williams’s daughter, a third boy began to climb on top of her while choking her until she passed out.

Ms. Williams said the school notified her around 12-noon her daughter was sent to the “behavioral room” for talking loud during lunch. The daughter was crying on the phone, but direct supervisors and teachers never once mentioned the assault to the girl’s mother. The Minneapolis Public School failed to respond.

The Minneapolis Public Schools communications department has hung up three times when IBNN attempted to follow up with the districts communication staff.  (See video here).

Minneapolis Public School board candidate, educator and stadium antagonist Doug Mann said, “The parents should have been notified immediately. A medical examination needs to be done immediately if there is actual or alleged battery. Delay in notifying the parents about this violates laws regarding the duty of district employees as mandated reporters. I investigated a gang rape with a toilet plunger handle of a girl in another district school, substantiated by a medical exam. The school and police department tried to cover it up. The attackers were protected, the victim punished.”

There will be more coming on this story as the report grows.

Stay tuned.


Where Are the Black Male Teachers?

The fear of excellence by a race of men, have led to a mass denial of opportunities. (Photo: IBNN)

The fear of excellence by a race of men have led to a mass denial of opportunities. (Photo: IBNN)

“When black men first enter the classroom, there is a high likelihood that they may be only one of maybe two or three black males on the staff.”

By Donald G. Nicolas -  a 5th grade teacher at a public school in Broward County, Fla. (posted to IBNN NEWS with permission) Source: EDWeek

Often, particularly in urban schools and districts, someone asks: “Where are the black male teachers?”

Statements affirming the need for more black male teachers are commonplace. As an experienced black educator and former assistant principal, I have heard assertions that more must be done to increase the number of black educators in our schools. I have also seen the tremendous impact an effective black male educator can have in the classroom. Notice I use the word effective; this is because an ineffective black male educator can have a more detrimental impact on a school than perhaps a teacher from any other demographic.

If I am being candid, I can attest personally to the fact that in many schools, the only abundance of black men comes in the form of custodians, food-service employees, and transportation workers. In addition, in conversations with my colleagues, it is widely understood that if black men are educators, they more often than not are physical education teachers or coach in some capacity. Black men are largely underrepresented in our nation’s classrooms; it has been widely reported that they make up less than 2 percent of our country’s teachers.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is heading up several initiatives to help recruit black men into our classrooms, most notably, a public-private initiative with a mission to “help great candidates find places in today’s rapidly evolving classrooms.” However, could all efforts to increase the number of black men in the classroom be in vain? I think so. Let me explain why, and what we can do to help.

Fit. According to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 82 percent of public school teachers in school year 2011-12 were white. When black men first enter the classroom, there is a high likelihood that they may be only one of maybe two or three black males on the staff, even in some predominantly black schools and districts. When hiring decisions are made within a school, they largely depend on “fit”: Will this person fit in at our school, and how well? Needless to say, adding a black man to the staff will automatically change a school’s dynamics.

As a black male teacher who has mentored other black male teachers, I can speak to the fact that parents, students, and fellow teachers may watch the black male employee more closely because of the rarity of the situation. The educator as well as the school community must be prepared for this. It takes a certain amount of character to accept and live up to this reality and the expectations that come with standing out.

Challenge: As a teacher or administrator with a black male teacher on staff, inquire periodically about his comfort level and/or difficulties he is having. Reassure him about his importance to the staff as a whole. Find time to debrief with him generally in an open and honest dialogue independent of any evaluative repercussions.

Lack of mentoring. A deficiency of black males in the classroom obviously leads directly to a lack of them in school leadership roles, such as principal and assistant principal. Educators have long said that mentoring is a key to success for many new teachers. In fact, many districts have mandatory induction programs for first- and second-year teachers.

Part of the mentor experience includes pairing the new teacher with an administrator or teacher who will observe, discuss research, and share experiences in an effort to foster the novice’s growth as an education professional.

The expectation is that new educators will have mentors who have their best interests and professional growth at heart. I honestly think it’s a challenge for black men to find someone in their school willing to level with them and be honest about the great responsibility that comes not only with being an educator, but a black male educator at that.

So many times I’ve personally seen young teachers written off and led astray by “mentors” who didn’t mentor them and allowed them to sink into what can be a professional abyss. If any teacher is not given the proper support, it is easy to be consumed by the overwhelming responsibility of being an educator.

Challenge: When black male teachers are on the staff in urban schools that need their presence, it is imperative that a concerted effort be made to provide these men with caring, spirited mentors who understand their importance and vigorously provide them guidance.

You can’t be what you don’t see. So many times it is said black boys want to be rappers or athletes because when they turn on the television, that’s what they see. If more black male teachers were in our nation’s classrooms, it would dramatically alter children’s aspirations. I wrote this Commentary because I believe every single conversation about education today must begin with the need to increase diversity in the teaching force. A conversation about standards, teacher quality, or graduation rates cannot begin without a vigorous effort and commitment to this cause.

Think about the first time you had a black male teacher, if ever. If you did, chances are you will never forget him. I firmly believe that if we put positive black men in front of these students, more young black boys will aspire to be educators.

Challenge: Ask two people how many African-American male educators they’ve had in their K-12 school careers. It is my hypothesis that most will give you an answer between zero and two. Continue the conversation by affirming the need to increase this number.

Poor achievement among our neediest students is the result, at least in part, of a lack of strong, positive black educators in the classrooms. This nation needs to move swiftly to engage more African-American men in teaching. No longer can we simply be OK with black men representing less than 2 percent of our teacher workforce. It is unacceptable.


Benton Harbor pastor gains momentum in “flipping” school district directors

Rev Edward Pinkney, BANCO, Benton Harbor, MI.

Rev Edward Pinkney, BANCO, Benton Harbor, MI.


Benton Harbor, MI. – Rev Edward Pinkney has been active in shutting down things that don’t work in his Benton Harbor area of Michigan – including the NAACP. Now Rev. Pinkney turns his focus on the poor educational system in Benton Harbor, MI.

The Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (Banco), collected over 10,000 signatures in a three-month period to recall President Martha Momany, Trustee Willie Lark and Trustee Lue Buchana from the Benton Harbor School Board.

President Martha Momany, is being recalled for not adhering to the open meeting act by failing to call for a vote to end the school board meeting. Willie Lark and Lue Buchana for failing to exercise his and her duty to appoint a seventh member to the
Benton Harbor Area School Board By August 31, 2013.

All three do not support the Benton Harbor school children in the community. They have hidden agenda.

School Board Trustee Joseph Taylor spoke at the Banco meeting and made a former request to not to recall President Martha Momany, Willie Lark and Lue Buchana.Mr. Joseph Taylor stated” he could work with them”.

Over four hundred members of Banco, voted to give Joseph Taylor a chance and our support. We voted to not recall the school board members only because of Trustee Joseph Taylor.

We collected more than 10,000 signatures on the recall petitions. It was just to many  opportunities to have the sheriff out intimidating the community and forcing the signers to say, I did not know it was a recall or I did not sign the petition only because, they are intimidated.

The recall of Mayor Hightower is a perfect example. When a young ladies who go to his church signed the recall petition. When I told her Mayor Hightower will be out to intimidate you alone with the sheriff. She wanted me to remove her name and I crossed her name out.

Hightower intimidated her to write a letter and she notarized the letter along with a second person. I have asked the FBI to look into this voter suppression effort by James Hightower, Berrien County sheriff, Berrien County clerk office and the prosecutor office, along with the civil rights violation. James Hightower is desperate.

Voter suppression is a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising the right to sign a petition for a recall of an election official without being intimidated by Mayor Hightower, Sheriff Department, Berrien County clerk office and the prosecutor office.

It took a decade of struggle by the civil rights movement part of a upsurge of social struggle that included the working class battle of the 1930s and 1940s that established industrial unions in America and the death of Martyr’s to the cause of equality to force the Johnson administration and congress to enact the land mark legislation.

Banco will recall the recall for the school board members. We will be watching the school board very closely.

May 24, 2014 Mass Demonstration at city Hall 200 wall St. start at 11 a.m. in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Can the Republican Party of Minnesota win without the college student?

MN GOP holds on to the antiquated mantle of power that has left the room and political races.

"At some point, I would like to tell Minnesota’s minority population the Minnesota GOP, or Minnesota Republicans want the best for each and every citizen of the state - today I can't"

“At some point, I would like to tell Minnesota’s minority population the Minnesota GOP, or Minnesota Republicans want the best for each and every citizen of the state – today I can’t”

 by Don Allen, Political Analyst – 4Gate 2014

Worn out and tired is what some call the Republican Party of Minnesota, more commonly referred to as the MNGOP. Minnesota’s right-wing political party must quickly develop new talking points customized for Minnesota’s right leaning population that focuses on issues that more people have in common. Antiquated talking points don’t win elections. Small government, fiscal responsibility and the famous “Take back America,” are Republican mantras that when analyzed, makes the Republican Party sound like a political unit in Nazi Germany. The 2014 election year is critical for Republicans in Minnesota. With the attractiveness of a wart and the attitude of a rattlesnake, the Republican Party of Minnesota has alienated more voters than they have attracted.

Minnesota GOP endorsed candidates are not (and cannot) win elections in the inner city. The party has abandoned college campuses and the 18-35 demographic altogether. With liberal college organizations like the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG),  who disguises it activities as “non-partisan,” and is secretly a right-leaning liberal incubator for Minnesota’s DFL platform (check out the MPIRG blog on Tom Emmer possibly working at HU), leaves the unattractive activities of the Minnesota GOP in back of the class and labeled invalid.

2014 presents a possible paradigm shift in the political atmosphere of Minnesota. The state’s ruling party, the Minnesota DFL is presenting several vulnerable or weak candidates for 2014. This includes Democrat incumbent senator Al Franken, St. Paul’s Washington, DC representative in Congress Betty McCollum and governor Mark Dayton, who waited until his election year to announce a $1.2 billion dollar surplus citing “Building a better Minnesota.” Of course our beloved governor did not tell us  the money was there mathematically in 2013. With DFL candidates positioned as low hanging fruit to be picked off by another political party, the MNGOP is so far lost on the “right” they can never recover to pick up the necessary popularity and voters to win these races. Some say Democrats in Florida are more conservative than Minnesota Republicans. In short, the MNGOP is heading for political extinction without an emergency makeover.

Minnesota DFL outreach director Mona Langston wrote this message about the MNGOP: “You [Republicans] would recognize how it looks when the bottom drops out better than I. We [the DFL] are on a streak and like all streaks at some point it will come to an end, but not right now; your party is in shambles and has been since Bush left you all high and dry with egg on your faces.”

MN GOP party chairman Keith Downey and secretary Christopher Fields continue to ignore sound advice. Community engagement, image and collaborative efforts remain mute in favor of the continued dry and antiquated “preaching to the choir” deployment of messaging. While the MN DLF has all-inclusive community town hall meetings, networking events at local restaurants and night clubs with celebrity spokespersons thrown in at an affordable price to the average working person ($25-$75), the MNGOP prices their events as if they are royalty and the common man, or average working person in Minnesota sometimes will not pay the astronomical $100-$250 per ticket to listen to a game plan by a bunch of political losers. Using that  $100 to $250 of hard earned money and taking your friends to lunch, buying a new pair of shoes, or getting your car washed seems like a better fiscal choice to spend that kind of cash.

Money is a big concern for the MNGOP. It is one of the many significant reasons the party does not feel the need to engage local and statewide college students or campuses. Students have limited funds to donate to the party or candidate. The MNGOP does not pay their boots-on-the-ground, whereas the MN DFL provides cash, food and transportation for the majority of its volunteers in the metro area. Those are just a few of the benefits of being on top.

Another concern for the MNGOP is a shrinking, old and dying population of delegates and supporters (55+). Party officials complained in 2010 and 2012 because local Basic Political Operating Units, commonly known as BPOU’s, raised money for candidates versus the state party offices. Delegates and supporters responded by saying it was better to send money to their favorite candidates than help the state party office pay off their debts. In spite of Tea Party babble and MN GOP antiquation, advocates of the outspoken group who started off more about the people versus a party (1850s) have a severe public relations problem that might only be remedied by a total overhaul. Today, the MNGOP cannot support any local candidates because of the massive debt incurred from the party’s past executive mismanagement. The MN GOP debt tenure happened under three past party leaders. Simply put, if you are a great possible conservative candidate, think seriously about running as a “conservative democrat” versus being associated with MNGOP.

The Republican Party of Minnesota needs a wakeup call. What are they willing to do that can present a positive image to the people of Minnesota? Are the Republicans in Minnesota willing to continue the sacrifice of top endorsed candidates?  Is going through the political motion of campaign only a teaching ground with no wins possible? It would seem the MNGOP is only moving around chairs on a sunken political ship.

Fiscal responsibility, small government and liberty mean nothing to a Minnesotan without the inclusion of civil rights, education for all, the freedom to marry and economic sustainability for all families in Minnesota. If the MNGOP and some Minnesota Republicans continue to ignore the lone college student who is the future of any political movement, expect not only the MNGOP, but Republican offices across the United States to grow dark and become extinct. In the end, Republicans will be diagnosed with the ailment of stupidity and arrogance.


Minneapolis Mayor Hodge’s had no business delivering the Benediction at Lewis children’s funeral

"Everybody prayin' and talkin' bout heaven ain't going."

“Everybody prayin’ and talkin’ bout heaven ain’t going.” (photo: Mayor Betsy Hodges (DFL-Minneapolis).

Here we go again doing the wrong things at the wrong times. In the case of the Lewis children, Hodges move was uncalled for. How much further will north Minneapolis black leadership travel down the rabbit hole to lay their lips on the asses of a political party and infrastructure that has promised but never delivered? (Tune into The Ron and Don Show on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. for more).

by Donald Allen, Founder – IBNN NEWS

Minneapolis, Minn. – IBNN and our affiliate networks would like to send out our condolences to the Lewis family for their great loss.

Nobody wants to lose a child, but it seem like Minneapolis is accustomed to losing children. If not by fire, as it this case – the Minneapolis Public Schools does a great job of sending its student in a path of educational destruction.Let’s not forget the many young lives lost in Minneapolis including 9-year old Michael Sullivan and a pair of children under 5-years old killed by senseless community violence.

On Saturday, March 1, five innocent souls were laid to rest at a service filled with political posturing and an obstruction by certain folks to stay to the path of doing the right thing.

Sources tell IBNN News that men of God gave praise to political leaders who showed up to the Lewis family funeral. “I don’t want my children’s funeral to be about politics,” said Mr. Lewis, father of the deceased children. But against Mr. Lewis’ wishes, one-by-one, local DFL political plantation hacks where acknowledged like celebrities.

One of the most disrespectful and malicious events was when Shiloh International Ministries Bishop Howell asked Minneapolis mayor (she accepted) Betsy Hodges to do the benediction.

At first it was assumed Bishop Howell was overtaken by grief and could not close the service. Sources close the Lewis family told IBNN News that Mayor Hodges, jumped at the chance to deliver the closing prayer.

This creates several challenging issues.

The Minnesota DFL, it’s hacks and operatives in Minneapolis have always seen to it (especially in the black community), to get these people that have no business “stepping out of their lanes,” to do the unthinkable. Hodges is not a minister, she’s a political placeholder in Minneapolis who circumvents procedures when in fact, the mayor of Minneapolis should have passed on this opportunity.

Needless to say, if this is what some members of the black community need to do in order to keep themselves in the loop, it’s a sad day for black Minneapolis and the community as a whole.

West’s wait: WAPS board to decide on superintendent offer Thursday

IBNN editors note: “Why can’t Minneapolis get a Stephen West? I’ll tell you, he’s too right for MPS educational system.”

Winona Area Public Schools superintendent candidate finalist Stephen West visits with students and staff Friday at an early-childhood class in Eden Prairie, West's current district. The WAPS school board is expected to decide Thursday whether to present West, its top choice, with a formal job offer. (photo: Abby Eisenberg)

Winona Area Public Schools superintendent candidate finalist Stephen West visits with students and staff Friday at an early-childhood class in Eden Prairie, West’s current district. The WAPS school board is expected to decide Thursday whether to present West, its top choice, with a formal job offer. (photo: Abby Eisenberg)

By Abby Eisenberg, Winona Daily News

Stephen West has a lot to be proud of.

Throughout his career in education, West – currently the executive director of educational services with the Eden Prairie School District – has, among other things, developed programs to help low-performing kids access Advanced Placement courses and brought in gifted-and-talented programs so high-achieving students could excel. He’s provided iPads for 1,500 middle-school students and laptops for 3,000 high-school students.

What does he see as his biggest accomplishment?

“I’m here,” he said. “And I’m on the cusp of something I’ve always wanted.”

That something is a shot at leading a school district, which West might earn on Thursday, when the Winona Area Public Schools board is scheduled to vote on offering him the opportunity to replace retiring superintendent Scott Hannon.

The board named West as the top choice after visits from three finalists last month, but held off on extending a formal offer, pending a visit. District representatives made that site visit to West’s district earlier this week and will report back to the rest of the board Thursday. Two of the representatives were school board members Jeanne Nelson and Tina Lehnertz; Nelson declined to comment about the visit and Lehnertz wasn’t able to be reached.

West said regardless of the board’s decision Thursday, he’s honored to have made it this far.

“I know it sounds cheesy, but I’m alive, and I’ve come a long way,” West said. “And I get to tell kids that anything is possible.”

He knows. He lived it.


West stood before a group of about 60 seventh- and eighth-graders from the alternative program at Eden Prairie’s Central Middle School on Friday morning. The students had gathered in the school’s new media center to hear his story.

“I sat in your chair,” he told them. “I look like some of you, I act like some of you, I had a hard time in school like some of you.”

He told the group about growing up in Memphis, Tenn., and being raised poor along with three brothers in a single-parent household.

He recalled being embarrassed by the book of food stamps he carried when he went grocery shopping for his mom.

He told them about turning on the lights in his family’s apartment and seeing cockroaches scuttling off into the dark. And about picking up his clarinet to practice and having a mouse shoot out the end of the tube.

He giggled with the students about that — then told them the serious consequences he soon began to face.

He didn’t care about school – he cared only about the meals he got there, and whether the electricity would be on at the house when he got home. But teachers believed in him, even when he thought he was stupid, that he’d never do well.

He started hanging out with the wrong crowd. Getting into trouble.

His mom was determined not to let him go to jail – or die. She took him away from his friends, moved the family to Minnesota. Teachers continued to take an interest in him, and they didn’t give up. They kept him after school and taught him hard lessons.

He excelled in athletics. His grades improved. He went to college.

Friday, standing in front of students a lot like who he used to be, West sported a suit and tie and acted every bit like the No. 2 man in a large, successful district. He talked about his two daughters and his wife who he loves to spoil.

He knows he’ll be remembered for the work he’s done for schools. He credits his success to his education and the teachers that encouraged him to stick with it along the way.

“To get through school – those boring classes – it’s the only way you’re going to make it,” he told them.

“You can do whatever you want – I know that because I’m just like you.”

A PART OF THE SOLUTION Read the rest of this entry »

Isaac Peterson Story On NAACP Is Example Of Journalistic Imbalance – Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder slips with this celebration of community garbage

IBNN editors note by Don Allen: Mr. Isaac Peterson has put the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder in a place where (with the evidence I have), the paper will have to print an apology and a factual account of what the real issues are inside of the Minneapolis NAACP. Stated in the MSR piece, the NAACP does not want to deal with negativity – well I do not want to deal with simple-minded stupidity.  

The Minneapolis NAACP will not be able to use white-guilt to shakedown local and state outlets for money without a solid plan. "Sorry bitches."

The Minneapolis NAACP will not be able to use white-guilt to shakedown local and state outlets for money without a solid plan. “Sorry bitches.”

By Terry Yzaguirre – MplsMirror – Guest Columnist

Isaac Peterson is back, and he did one hell of a horseshit imbalanced story on the new NAACP members with a sub-title ” New leaders say their mission includes no time for negativity“?

 It is this type of rhetoric writing that continues to leave the black community at war with one another.

Instead of staying focused on the positive, which these NAACP hustlers should have done, they opened Pandora’s box when they turned it into a hit piece against Don Allen.

Peterson gives no mention of a comment from Allen or if he even attempted to get Allen’s version of what transpired.  This is not about taking sides, but giving balance to a story of each person’s interpretation of what occurred.

This is the type of conduct I expect from white media, but for a black newspaper to condone this type of writing should be disturbing to the community.

Why people want to play the game of hoping to change someone’s character by giving them an opportunity is a joke, when they themselves are no better then the one they are pointing a finger at.

Why did Peterson not do an article on a bit of history on the new members and what they are going to bring to the table on all the great things they have planned?  Would bells and whistles not have gone off in ones head when Peterson quotes McAfee as saying:

“We don’t need to prove [anything]; we just need to get busy. And we need to make a fair plan for us getting our fair share of everything Minnesota has to offer. The NAACP can and will lead on that.”

Why wouldn’t Peterson have asked Rev. McAfee right then and there what he was going to do different that he hasn’t already had the time to accomplish considering how many years he has been around?  How did “United For Peace” as one example turnout for him?

What is Ms. Clemons going to do different this time around, as this is not her first time to the NAACP dance?

The only thing truthful in McAfee’s statement is that they have gotten away with not having to prove a damn thing for the money they receive in the good name of the community.

I cannot wrap my mind around why the African American community continues to protect these rogues and cover up for them.

Does the community believe that after all these years, just like the statement they made about Allen in the article “And we were hoping he would do some things in a different way, and he made a conscious decision not to” that some of these new NAACP officials are going to follow their own advice?  If McAfee was so effective as a leader after all this time, the African American community would be strong instead of vulnerable.

I guess Isaac Peterson who has returned after a 10 years absence and reporting once again for the Spokesman recorder did not waste anytime to gravitate to the same old players with the same traditions of poisoned journalism that he left 10 years ago.



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