Sun Current Editions Richfield

Current Richfield $ 1 Thursday, May 25, 2017 Vol. 47, No. 22 New EDA meets Making the leap Public notices The newly formed Richfi eld Economic Development Authority held its fi rst meeting May 15. Page 7 The Richfi eld track and fi eld team will look to send some athletes to state at the upcoming section track meet. Page 9 Read the latest public notices from the city of Richfi eld and the Richfi eld School District. Page 11 School district feels reverberations of protest Another demonstration last week preceeded planned walkout BY ANDREW WIG SUN CURRENT NEWSPAPERS Concerns over racial equality in the Richfi eld School District are the fo- cus of continued demon- strations. About a dozen students gathered outside Rich- fi eld High School May 18 expressing frustration at what they see as the dis- trict’s lack of progress on the matter. The demon- stration took place earlier than initially planned, ac- cording to protest organiz- er Amal Dakane, who said the action was moved up to closely follow a May 15 protest that ended a Rich- fi eld School Board meet- ing early. In a demonstration or- ganized by a group called the Social Justice Educa- tion Movement, or SJEM, demonstrators had fl ood- ed the school board meet- ing room to speak against the termination of out- reach worker Jessi Mar- tinez. The school board unanimously approved the fi ring that evening. The former Richfi eld STEM School staff mem- ber maintains she was terminated over her plans to, along with a group of staff members, wear Black Lives Matter T-shirts just before Martin Luther King Day in February. Martinez was present for the raucous May 15 demonstration as well as the small May 18 gather- ing. Superintendent Steve Unowsky has denied that the cause of her termina- tion was the T-shirt, point- ing to disciplinary matters he will not publicly specify, citing data privacy rules. Speaking for Martinez, SJEM stated the reason the district gave for her fi ring stemmed from her communications with a candidate for principal at R-STEM, an educator who was also her supervi- sor at an after-school pro- gram where she worked. Another demonstra- tion over the Martinez termination, this time a Richfi eld High School students Lary Lopez, left, and Amal Dakane, right, embrace Jessi Martinez, an outreach worker who was fi red from the district, as the students prepared for a demonstration outside Richfi eld High School May 18. (Sun Current staff photo by Andrew Wig) walkout at Richfi eld High School, is being planned for Thursday, May 25, according to a Facebook event page established for the occasion. As for the May 18 demonstration, senior Amal Dakane explained her reason for organizing the action. “I think today is just to let them know we still want to be part of the community; we just want things to change about it,” Dakane said as she stood outside the school’s front entrance, waiting for fel- low protesters to arrive. They would eventually gather and walk around the corner of the building and mass outside the en- trance to the district offi ce. A question of comfort Superintendent Steve Unowsky saw their will- ingness to speak out as a positive sign. “I think one of the signs of a healthy organiza- tion is when students do feel safe and comfortable to share their voice,” Un- owsky said in an interview. But some classmates feel too comfortable making their own racially charged statements, demonstrators said. “In one of the English classes, children were say- ing ‘La Migra,’ like that’s funny,” Dakane said, re- ferring to the Spanish col- loquialism that refers to immigration police. “For them to feel comfortable saying that in somebody’s class is an issue.” Richfi eld High School Principal Latanya Daniels did not return a request for comment on the May 18 demonstration. Unowsky said he had not heard the “La Migra” complaint, but added, “I would open- ly state that’s not the type of environment we sup- port. That is not the type of culture that we support as an organization.” PROTEST - TO PAGE 3 Richfi eld Sun Current distribution changes Readers urged to sign up now The Richfi eld Sun Current will be moving to U.S. Mail delivery this summer. Read- ers are urged to sign up now to continue to receive the newspaper each week. The Sun Current will be undergoing a major transformation, to be- come a requested peri- odical through the Unit- ed States Postal Service. This means readers will get guaranteed, on-time delivery direct in their mailbox each and every week at no cost to them. In order to qualify for this highly presti- gious mailing class, the A commercial project called Plaza 66 is being planned for the intersection of 66th Street and 16th Avenue in Richfi eld. The complex would house a restaurant and a coffee shop, in addition to other tenants. (Image Courtesy Interstate Development) East-side neighborhoood reckons with redevelopment Neighbors say their street is already too busy BY ANDREW WIG SUN CURRENT NEWSPAPERS As a decades-old vision to transform an east-side neighborhood into a com- mercial area comes to frui- tion, residents are trying to minimize the impact of the planned development. The neighborhood near 66th Street and 16th Av- enue in Richfi eld has been zoned for commercial use since 1968, but until now, Sun Current 10917 Valley View Rd. Eden Prairie, MN 55344 952-829-0797 has not been touched by the commercial redevelop- ment progressing through the city. Four homes will need to be removed to make way for Plaza 66, a complex that will house businesses including a cof- fee shop and restaurant, if the proposal receives city council approval next month. The city council will vote on the matter after the Richfi eld Planning Commission voted 6-1 last month to recommend ap- proval. Commissioner Al- lysen Hoberg was the lone dissenter. 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