Mayor Donna Schmitt’s gavel got a workout July 8. She used it several times to restore order in Columbia Heights’ City Council chambers as members of the city’s LGBTQAI+ community sought an explanation for her refusal to issue a mayoral proclamation recognizing the Heights’ first PRIDE celebration, to be held July 13 at Sullivan Lake Park. The commotion occurred during the community forum session at the end of the council meeting.
When the global United Methodist Church voted in February in St. Louis to formalize its doctrine banning LGBTQ persons from serving as ministers of the church and firing ministers who performed same-sex marriages, it sent shock waves rippling throughout the world. Methodists who believed that their church was open and welcoming to all were stunned. But not for long.
The land at University Avenue and 37th Avenue NE has sat vacant for decades. Now, a trio of developers wants to park, maintain and operate school buses on it. Neighbors on both sides of the Minneapolis-Columbia Heights border are saying, “No way!”
Father Earl Simonson, retired pastor of St. Clement church and a former auto worker who became a Catholic priest in mid-career, died June 11 at the Legacy of St. Anthony, where he had lived since the spring of 2017. He was 89. His death came a few weeks after the 50th anniversary of his ordination.
Around 4:45 pm, on Tuesday, June 11, I was driving home from the Quarry Cub Foods store. As I turned south on Central Avenue from 18th Avenue, I came upon three police SUVs and an ambulance at the intersection of Central and 14th Avenue. As I got closer, I could see a red Toyota sedan in the street, perpendicular to the curb in front of the NuWay building, at the northwest corner. The large police presence at what appeared to be a traffic accident made me curious, and I turned onto a side street and got out of my car.
At 6:30 p.m. on June 13, the little community room at Main Street Lodge was packed with neighbors, some of whom had received only hours’ notice of the meeting. The air became stuffier as tempers flared and the meeting continued. Folks in St. Anthony West were not happy.