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38th Street dreams – Southwest Journal

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Before a police officer killed George Floyd, 38th Street was already known for Black history. 

The corridor was home to a barrier-breaking Black business hub starting in the 1930s, Prince’s junior high school and the state’s oldest operating African American newspaper. The city of Minneapolis was poised to designate 38th Street from Nicollet to Bloomington as a cultural district this year, working with residents to draft a 10-year vision for community-owned development that uplifts the cultural identity and keeps it intact for years to come. 

Floyd died at 38th & Chicago, the center of the district. 

“The reasons to continue with this work have only been amplified,” said Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. “We need to now think about a permanent memorial to commemorate this moment, to acknowledge and recognize the site of a global movement focused on racial equality.”

The permanent memorial is still under discussion. Meanwhile, Black-owned businesses are pursuing other big ideas that will shape the street. 

Construction may start next spring on Dreamland on 38th, a project to build a cafe and Black business incubator at 3800 3rd Ave. S. It’s inspired by the namesake Dreamland Cafe that served celebrities like Lena Horne and Frankie Lymon as a rare social center for African Americans when it opened at 38th & 4th in the late ‘30s.  The project is a partnership between the nonprofit Cultural Wellness Center (CWC), which co-owns the Midtown Global Market, and property owner Dr. Freeman Waynewood, CEO of KingField Family Dental at 38th & Nicollet. 

Waynewood grew up attending segregated Texas schools and remembers only a handful of businesses owned by people of color, including a hotel, a service station and an insurance agency. Waynewood invested in the early ’80s to help purchase the state’s first Black-owned railroad, the Minnesota Valley Transportation Co. in southern Minnesota.

“That was the beginning, but I’ve always supported Black entrepreneurs in whatever way possible,” he said. “Support, I think, that’s the key thing. Encouragement.”

Waynewood said there are budding ideas to redevelop the Kingfield dental office as well.

“We’re at the western end of 38th Street, and with the George Floyd issue, with the potential for a memorial of some sort, I can envision this corridor as being a unifying as well as an identifying point in the city for people of color,” he said. 

Dreamland and CWC Associate Anthony Taylor will lead “Slow Roll” bike rides down 38th this summer to historical sites, which now include the site where Floyd was killed. 

“Communities west of 35W, they can’t imagine that someone would do that, because their lived experience is inconsistent with that. This filming of it, unceasing, unflinching, watching a man die in plain sight, stretched what people imagined and therefore believe,” he said. “People really are deeply impacted because it absolutely did not allow you to look away. You know that corner.”

Photo by Isaiah Rustad

Living in a protest site

A few doors south of Floyd’s memorial, Gloria Burnett said she wants 38th & Chicago to remain closed, as it is now. She pointed out a street sign where someone had pasted over Chicago Avenue to rename the street George Floyd Avenue. 

The intersection is finding a daily rhythm, said Rashad West, owner of the Dragon Wok restaurant that relocated in March from Kingfield to 38th & Chicago. In the morning, visitors come for reflection. Later in the afternoon, people start grilling and singing and dancing.

Rashad West, pictured in 2015.

It’s been a difficult time for the business. West released May 25 surveillance video showing Floyd not resisting arrest, announcing that the restaurant stands in solidarity with the neighborhood and the Black community.

“It’s bigger than us,” West said. 

And in the midst of COVID-19, West worries about his friends at other restaurants adjusting to a business model based on takeout and delivery. Dragon Wok is still delivering to the same customers in Southwest, even walking curbside pickup orders a few blocks away upon request. Businesses that make it to the other side of the pandemic will benefit from all the innovation, he said.

“We’ve just got to keep putting up a fight,” he said. 

“38th Street is different, but it’s quieting down substantially from the last two to three weeks back,” said Tracey Williams-Dillard, publisher of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the historic Black-owned newspaper with offices at 38th & 4th. She said it felt like the newspaper was initially reporting in a war zone, hearing low-flying helicopters and seeing the National Guard stationed behind the building. 

“I grew up in that building, my grandfather started the paper in 1934. And at the age of 8, I was going in there doing whatever I could do. To pull up in front of a building that had never been boarded in my lifetime … just hit me really hard,” she said.

In November, the city renamed a portion of 4th Avenue South “Launa Q. Newman Way” after Williams-Dillard’s grandmother. When Launa Newman’s husband, Cecil, died, there weren’t many female publishers, and a competitor moved into the building, expecting to take over. But Newman continued running the paper, standing in front of a grid sheet manually pasting up articles until a family member introduced computers to the office. She ran the paper for 30 years before turning it over to Williams-Dillard in 2007. 

The newspaper hosted a virtual town hall July 2 titled “Call to Action: We Are Not Okay (And That’s Okay).” 

“The Black community is dealing with two different pandemics. We’re dealing with the COVID pandemic and we’re dealing with the George Floyd pandemic, and it’s just a double whammy on our community,” Williams-Dillard said. 

As advertisers pull back dollars during the pandemic, the paper is taking donations and selling subscriptions. Knowing that African Americans are disproportionately dying of COVID-19, the paper is heavily focused on health education. 

 “It’s been a struggle at times. But then at the same time it’s been a joy, because I’m seeing the difference the paper makes in the stories we do in the community,” she said.

“History is unfolding right in front of our eyes, and we have to make sure that we document that history,” said Tina Burnside, curator of the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum.

Long-term plans for the museum include relocating to a site on 38th Avenue, perhaps at Sabathani Community Center. 

The museum is currently slated to reopen Aug. 4 at Plymouth & Penn on the North Side with new exhibits featuring protest photos by John Steitz, preserved plywood art and video performances by LaTanya Cannady, Joe Davis, Nico Moore and Drea Reynolds. Sixteen artists will paint a Black Lives Matter mural on the Plymouth Avenue roadway July 18. 

Photo of Trish by John Steitz

Another new exhibit details the 1920 lynching of three African American men accused of a crime without physical evidence in Duluth. A mob of people dragged Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie out of their jail cells and lynched them from a light pole. Burnside said it’s important to understand the context for Floyd’s death.

“Everyone has this view of Minnesota as being a progressive state, and lynching only happened in the South. But no, it happened here in our own state,” Burnside said. “And now 100 years later, we have the killing of George Floyd, uncovering the veil from police brutality and systemic racism and racial violence against Black people.”

Burnside is among those calling for a change in ownership at Cup Foods, suggesting raising money to buy the building and open an affordable grocery store at 38th & Chicago. 

Other new ideas are coming from the Bryant Neighborhood Organization, which voted to establish a George Floyd Empowerment Center, envisioned as an anti-racist training institute, a memorial and a free community event space.

In a recent online call, more than 160 community members joined Council Vice President Jenkins to talk about ideas for a permanent memorial at 38th & Chicago, which include a garden or a sculpture. One idea is a roundabout, although some advocated for closing the intersection, disliking the idea of driving over the space. 

Jenkins noted that Chicago Avenue carries the most-used bus route in the state.

“We have lived for the past 40 years with a major street in our city that was closed down — Nicollet Avenue. It really disrupts the entirety of the whole city,” she said. “If we disrupt that route, we disrupt a lot of Black and Brown people’s livelihoods.”

A public hearing Aug. 3 will take up a proposal to establish the commemorative street name “George Perry Floyd Jr. Place” at 38th & Chicago. Jenkins also hopes to rename Columbus Avenue in the future.

On the call, Jeanelle Austin asked for the community’s blessing to start composting dried flowers at 38th & Chicago for reuse in community gardens. She started tending the memorial shortly after Floyd died, straightening the flowers and sweeping the streets. Her guiding principle is: “Everything is somebody’s offering. Throw nothing away.” Even the dirt is reused, said volunteer Regina Marie Williams. 

Volunteers tend the flowers at George Floyd’s memorial at 38th & Chicago. Pictured (l to r): Jemette Owens, Regina Marie Williams, Toby Hettler and Jeanelle Austin. 

Living three blocks away, Austin arrives each day around 6 a.m. while the intersection is still hushed. She returns home in time for meetings at her startup, the Racial Agency Initiative. Austin is a racial justice coach, helping churches, corporations and individuals answer the question: “What can I do?” 

She advises everyone to address racism wherever they are, whether it be at work, at the dinner table or in the mirror. If everyone does their part, change could come fast, she said. She recommends reading history written by Black authors and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in its entirety.

“Everyone loves to say these things take time,” she said. “It only takes time because people don’t want to change. When people want something, people will make it happen.”

Beginning the work

“I think this moment of solidarity that we see is important. And now we begin the work,” Taylor said.

The proposed boundaries of the 38th Street cultural district are Nicollet Avenue to the west, 36th Street to the north, Bloomington Avenue to the east and 40th Street to the south. 

The draft plan, dubbed 38th Street Thrive, calls for celebrations of arts and culture, a minority small business relief program for shops at risk of closure, a Black Heritage Land Trust to help African Americans own homes and commercial space, a capital fund to leverage low-interest construction loans, and a solar cooperative on Sabathani’s roof.

Kente Circle, which focuses on serving people of color, plans to expand the therapy office at 345 E. 38th St. Serving about 700 clients annually, Kente Circle is working to meet higher demand and create a cultural healing and training center. The City Council allocated a $24,500 forgivable loan in December to help cover predevelopment costs. Image courtesy of City of Minneapolis

To keep housing affordable in the area, one suggestion would give tax relief to longtime homeowners who see property assessments increase by 15%. Landlords would be encouraged to participate in a city program that offers property tax reduction in exchange for affordable units.

Sabathani Community Center at 310 E. 38th St. plans to build 48 affordable senior apartments in a three-story building at the vacant northwest portion of the site. To help finance the project, the Planning Commission Committee of the Whole approved tax increment financing for the parcel on July 9. Image courtesy of City of Minneapolis

Another idea would launch the Clarissa Walker Homebuyers Club, named for the woman who spent 39 years as a constant presence at the community center. The Saturday morning breakfast club could cover topics like credit repair, house maintenance 101 and down payment assistance. An upcoming CWC project would map the area’s historical African American land ownership and look at how wealth did or did not transfer forward over time. 

Given the current crises, community meetings on 38th Street Thrive are delayed. At the moment, Jenkins is focused on safety. She was devastated by the news that a pregnant woman had died of a gunshot wound inflicted at 37th & Elliott, while her baby was placed in intensive care. 

“We have to get some control over the safety in our communities,” Jenkins said. “Safety at the intersection of 38th & Chicago is of utmost concern now.”

But she still envisions a stand-alone Center for Racial Healing, to give Black people space to heal from everyday trauma. 

“Hope is what keeps me going,” Jenkins said.

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PGX Holdings, Inc. — Moody’s announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of PGX Holdings, Inc.

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Announcement of Periodic Review: Moody’s announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of PGX Holdings, Inc.Global Credit Research – 26 Feb 2021New York, February 26, 2021 — Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has completed a periodic review of the ratings of PGX Holdings, Inc. and other ratings that are associated with the same analytical unit. The review was conducted through a portfolio review discussion held on 23 February 2021 in which Moody’s reassessed the appropriateness of the ratings in the context of the relevant principal methodology(ies), recent developments, and a comparison of the financial and operating profile to similarly rated peers. The review did not involve a rating committee. Since 1 January 2019, Moody’s practice has been to issue a press release following each periodic review to announce its completion.This publication does not announce a credit rating action and is not an indication of whether or not a credit rating action is likely in the near future. Credit ratings and outlook/review status cannot be changed in a portfolio review and hence are not impacted by this announcement. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.Key rating considerations are summarized below.PGX Holdings, Inc.’s (“Progrexion”) Caa2 Corporate Family Rating reflects the company’s unsustainable capital structure due to Moody’s expectations for continuing operating challenges from declines in revenue and earnings. The rating also reflects the overhang from the ongoing CFPB investigation that could lead to the need for the company to change its business model. Positively, the rating considers Progrexion’s leading market position within the credit repair services industry and strong profit margins despite margin compression.This document summarizes Moody’s view as of the publication date and will not be updated until the next periodic review announcement, which will incorporate material changes in credit circumstances (if any) during the intervening period.The principal methodology used for this review was Business and Consumer Service Industry published in October 2016. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.This announcement applies only to EU rated, UK rated, EU endorsed and UK endorsed ratings. Non EU rated, non UK rated, non EU endorsed and non UK endorsed ratings may be referenced above to the extent necessary, if they are part of the same analytical unit.This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history. Oleg Markin Asst Vice President – Analyst Corporate Finance Group Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. 250 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10007 U.S.A. JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376 Client Service: 1 212 553 1653 Karen Nickerson Associate Managing Director Corporate Finance Group JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376 Client Service: 1 212 553 1653 Releasing Office: Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. 250 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10007 U.S.A. JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376 Client Service: 1 212 553 1653 © 2021 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED BY MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS AFFILIATES ARE THEIR CURRENT OPINIONS OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES, AND MATERIALS, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND INFORMATION PUBLISHED BY MOODY’S (COLLECTIVELY, “PUBLICATIONS”) MAY INCLUDE SUCH CURRENT OPINIONS. MOODY’S DEFINES CREDIT RISK AS THE RISK THAT AN ENTITY MAY NOT MEET ITS CONTRACTUAL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS THEY COME DUE AND ANY ESTIMATED FINANCIAL LOSS IN THE EVENT OF DEFAULT OR IMPAIRMENT. SEE APPLICABLE MOODY’S RATING SYMBOLS AND DEFINITIONS PUBLICATION FOR INFORMATION ON THE TYPES OF CONTRACTUAL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS ADDRESSED BY MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS. 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How to protect from scams

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Dear DO Line Readers: National Consumer Protection Week begins Sunday, Feb. 28. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and more than 100 federal, state, and local agencies, consumer groups and national advocacy organizations will participate in the 23rd annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW). It will run through March 6.

Martha Higbie
[email protected]

NCPW is a coordinated campaign designed to focus on the importance of keeping consumers informed.

• • • •

We decided to participate in this Consumer Protection Week by checking out some of the worst money and phone scams so that our Daily News DO Line readers will be informed. We know that our weekly readers may recognize these scams from previous articles.

 Phone scams: The FTC says that people might a lot of money to phone scams – sometimes their life savings. Scammers have figured out countless ways to cheat people out of their money over the phone. In some scams, they act friendly and helpful. In others, they might threaten or try to scare people. One thing we can count on is that a phone scammer will try hard to get money or personal information to commit identity theft.

• Imposter scams: A scammer pretends to be someone you trust such as a government agency like the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or someone claiming there is a problem with your computer. The scammer can even have a fake name or number that shows up on your caller ID to convince you.

• Debt relief and credit repair scams: Scammers will offer to lower your credit card interest rates, fix your credit, or get your student loans forgiven if you pay their company a fee first. But you could end up losing your money and ruining your credit.

• Charity scams: Scammers like to pose as charities. Scams requesting donations for disaster relief efforts are especially common on the phone. We should always check out a charity before giving money. Also, do not feel pressured to give immediately while on the phone.

• Trials that are “Free”: A caller might promise a free trial but then sign you up for products — sometimes lots of products — that you are billed for every month until you cancel.

Here’s how we can stop calls from scammers:

• Hang up. When you receive a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Instead of letting you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, it might lead to more robocalls.

• Consider call blocking or call labeling. Scammers can use the internet to make calls from all over the world. They do not care if you are on the National Do Not Call Registry. That is why your best defense against unwanted calls is call blocking. Which type of call-blocking (or call-labeling) technology you use will depend on the phone — whether it is a mobile phone, a traditional landline, or a home phone that makes calls over the internet (VoIP). It is recommended that you see what services your phone carrier offers and look online for expert reviews. For mobile phones, you can check out the reviews for different call-blocking apps in your online app store.

• Don’t trust your caller ID. Scammers can make any name or number show up on your caller ID. That’s called spoofing. So even if it looks like it is a government agency or the call is from a local number, it could be a scammer calling from anywhere in the world. You can learn more about unwanted calls and what to do about them at ftc.gov/calls.

The FTC points out what to do if you already paid a scammer:

• If you paid a scammer with a credit or debit card, you may be able to stop the transaction. Contact your credit card company or bank right away. Tell them what happened and ask for a “chargeback” to reverse the charges.

• If you paid a scammer with a gift card, prepaid card, or cash reload card, contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the card, and ask if they can refund your money. The sooner you contact them, the better chance they will be able to get your money back.

• If you gave your username and password to a scammer, change your password right away. You should then create a new strong password.

• If you have given your Social Security Number to a scammer, visit identitytheft.gov to learn how to monitor your credit report to see if your number is being misused.

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Credit repair specialist Alex Miller explains the process of repairing your credit report

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Credit repair specialist Alex Miller explains the process of repairing your credit report

A good credit score can be a very powerful tool. From securing loans to buying a house, your credit score can be the key to pursuing significant purchases in your life, helping you build a better and brighter future. The truth is, many people don’t have a perfect credit score, and that is ok. Credit repair specialist Alex Miller has worked with many individuals looking to improve their credit scores and get more out of life. From his personal experience, he explains there are three actionable ways to improve your credit score.

1. Pay all your bills on time. 

A credit card payment that is 30 days late can knock 100 points off your credit score. This is why paying your bills on time is crucial. “Of course, paying your bills on time is ideal. It prevents your score from taking a hit and cultivates good credit habits,” says Alex. “If you find yourself in a position, whether it be due to job loss or even the pandemic, try to work with your creditor first before missing a payment.”

2. Pay down your balances. 

“Paying down your balances is helpful because it lowers your credit utilization ratio,” explains Alex. “Reducing your credit card debt can increase your credit score by roughly 84 points.” It is essential to keep your income-to-debt ratio as low as you can, and keeping a minimal or zero balance is a great way to do that. 

3. Pay in full going forward.

Once you’ve caught up on your bills and paid off your balances, Alex recommends trying to pay your bill in full every month. “By paying your statement in full, you prevent yourself from slipping into overspending habits that could negatively affect your credit score,” states Alex. “You’ve taken the time to build better habits. You want to stay that way.”

In managing his firm, Alex has seen all kinds of credit troubles, but he remains confident that there is no problem too big to fix. Alex elaborates, “Combining improved spending habits with adequate money management is the number one step we can all take to increase our credit scores.”

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