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R.T. Rybak: A Great Leader for a Great City Volunteer Contribute

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Day in the Life: March 12

Megan and I were at two very different but wonderful community events in the past two nights.
Friday night (after a really nice dinner at the Birchwood) we went to Theater Mu's production of "The Walleye Kid." Theater Mu's executive director Rick Shiomi is co-chairing the Mosaic Arts celebration (www.minneapolismosaic.com) with Megan and he's one of the real bright lights in local theater. This production is based loosely on a children's fantasy story Megan and I used to read to our kids called "Peach Boy", about an elderly couple that really wants a child and gets its wish when a baby suddenly is brought to them by a magical fish. The twist in the Theater Mu production is that the baby is from Korea and her adoption reflects the experience of playright Sundraya (Sonny) Kase as she grew up in Minnesota.
It's a really wonderful production, a musical in fact, that works well for both kids and adults. Like many of the art we want to showcase in Mosaic, it deals with themes of the mixing of cultures and does a great job of showing how the adopted girl had a place in two worlds.
The story is great, as is the production.....A real gem is the star Isabella Dawis who played Annie at the Chanhassen.
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The second great community event was tonight (Saturday). ....a celebration to honor one of my favorite people in Minneapolis: Laura Waterman Wittstock. Laura has been a writer, community activist, member of untold numbers of boards and one of the country's most respected American Indian voices. She started and for many years has run MIGIZI Communications, which has fostered Indian voices and trained kids of many cultures in technology and communications. She is retiring from MIGIZI but she is hardly retiring. She will continue to be very active in the community.
The speeches were really moving. Of special note was one by Kelly Morgan, co-chair of the Minneapolis Urban Indian Directors(MUD) group as she talked about how Laura has helped show her leadership roles. There were other great tributes by Roger Buffalohead, Hoang Tran, Marlene Helgemo, Kwame McDonald and Clyde Bellecort. (The master of ceremonies was Syd Beane, the executive director of the National American Indian Development Corporation....Shortly after he moved here a couple years ago, Megan and I had Laura and her husband Lloyd, and Syd and his wife over for dinner...It was an amazing evening that reminded us how lucky we are to have them in Minneapolis.)
I named today Laura Waterman Wittstock Day....and honor she deserves.
My first appointment as Mayor was to name Laura to the Library Board. She's now running for the position and I hope people support her at the DFL convention.

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