Divestment Deals, Delicious Dishes, and DPOY Drama: It’s a Minnesota Minute!

This week’s edition covers stories 
from May 2nd to May 8th, 2024.

Today’s issue is 990 words, an 8minute read.

Hey everyone! Mateo here.

This week is full of positive highlights, as we dive into the progress being made on the UMN campus, a premiere event kicking-off a new series on TPT, a local teacher winning a prestigious award, a sparkling film review from one of our own, and of course, the Timberwolves.

UMN Investments Revealed

Last week, we updated you on the status of the protests and encampments that were being staged at the University of Minnesota campus. Early Thursday morning, organizers of the pro-Palestinian protests and university leadership announced that they had reached an agreement to end the encampment on Northrop Mall. This week, the U of MN began to disclose their investments into Israel-based companies, as agreed upon in last week’s agreement. Documents revealed that of the university’s $2.27 billion endowment, only 0.23% ($5 million) has gone towards Israel based companies. Student coalitions argue that this small percentage should make it easier to divest. On the other side, Steven Hunegs, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council for Minnesota & the Dakotas, claims that “This is just about attacking Israel and Jews. The boycotting of Jewish businesses has a long and noxious history going back before the state of Israel’s independence.” The University of MN’s Board of Regents is scheduled to meet throughout today (5/9) and tomorrow (5/10).

On April 29, a few hundred people gathered at the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis to call for a cease-fire in Gaza before setting up an encampment on the lawn. 📸 Jeff Wheeler | Star Tribune via Getty Images

Twin Cities on a Plate: “Relish” Explores Food & Culture

Attendees got to learn about and try Chef Yia Vang’s food at the RELISH premiere     📷 Mateo Peralta | NewPrensa

Food is a language, a universal connector that brings people together. Want to discover the Twin Cities through a delicious lens? Our newsletter just scratched the surface of “Relish,” a new TPT series celebrating the city’s vibrant food scene!  Head over to read the full story and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure: Check It Out.

MPS Educator Wins Teacher of the Year

Washburn High School teacher Tracy Byrd is also a track and football coach 📸 Kerem Yücel | MPR News

Teacher of the Year is one of the highest honors that one can receive as an educator, representing a desire to leave a lasting impact on the next generation. Minnesota’s 60th Teacher of the Year, Tracy Byrd, is helping students most affected by the pandemic regain the skills and tools they need to succeed. Tracy Byrd, or “Mr. Byrd”, as he is known at school, has taught at Washburn High School since 2017. Washburn is my alma mater, and represents a wide range of students across South Minneapolis. While I never had Mr. Byrd as a teacher, he was one of those staff that you always heard good things about, and was well-liked among the community. Byrd is a Washburn graduate himself, and after working in the banking industry for many years, decided it was time for a change. He first became a hall monitor, and was quickly encouraged by those around him to pursue teaching. After completing his Master’s at Metro State, he started at Washburn, where he has been ever since, and where his impact can be felt by his students on a daily basis. Congrats Mr. Byrd!

About the Movie that Made Me Buy a Tennis Racket

Zendaya stars in Challengers 📸  Niko Tavernise / Metro Goldwyn

Hi–Nick, here. I’m a fresh face here at NewPrensa and your friendly neighborhood Communications and Engagement manager at NewPublica. Like most of this crew, I’m deep into pop culture and the various slices of life that make the Twin Cities my favorite place to dig into incredible foods, music, and art. 

This week, I think I finally understood the hype of tennis. I was well acquainted with the sport thanks to growing up admiring the household names Serena and Venus Williams and Roger Federer, but in recent years, the sport had been eclipsed by other hobby pursuits like my career, love life, and the constant unending dread that the world is ending (#JustMillennialThings). But after hunkering down in my seat at the Landmark Lagoon, I was deeply impressed enough to go buy a tennis racket and take up the sport. Consider me influenced!

‘Call Me By Your Name’ director Luca Guadagnino’s latest dramedy entry was at the top of my watch-list after reading rave reviews and hearing friends gush about film and fashion star Zendaya’s incredible performance. After debriefing with my friends and consulting some errant fan-theories floating around the world-wide web, I have some thoughts.

Overall, I would recommend this movie to somebody who is interested in the deep complexities of a love triangle but wants the story delivered in a sporty-spicy triangle. It is definitely riding on the wave of the recent trend of romance novels geared at young adults, but is a smart and plucky ride nonetheless.

Read Nick’s full thoughts here: Check It Out

Wolves Undefeated in Playoffs

Wolves HC Chris Finch out at practice in crutches 📸 @Timberwolves IG

Did you really think I wasn’t going to talk about the Timberwolves? The Wolves are in the midst of their most successful season in recent franchise history, now going into Game 3 (at home!) with a commanding 2-0 series lead over the defending champions, the Denver Nuggets. The Wolves are still undefeated in the playoffs, winning six straight. What makes this run even more impressive is the fact that the Wolves’ head coach, Chris Finch, who was severely injured during Game 4 of the Phoenix series and required surgery almost immediately for a ruptured patellar tendon, hasn’t missed a single game. 

Through extreme pain, he has remained dedicated to sticking with the team, which means lots of travel. They even found the perfect spot for him to sit, right behind the bench, with direct access to coaches and players, and room to elevate his leg. Meanwhile, Assistant Coach Micah Nori has stepped up and filled the normal game coaching duties, and has been successful in his efforts.

Fun fact: Head Coach Chris Finch (bottom row, 5th from right) and Assistant Coach Micah Nori (bottom row, 6th from left) were both on Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone’s 2016-17 coaching staff, serving as assistants. 📸 Garett Ellwood / Getty Images

The Wolves have a clear focus right now: defense. For the past few years, Wolves General Manager Tim Connelly has built the team into what it is today, a defensive powerhouse. The first step was trading for then Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, in one of the largest trades the league has seen. The controversial trade was met with criticism from fans and media alike, some even going as far as calling it “One Of The Most Lopsided NBA Trades Ever”. The move has no doubt been successful, as Gobert has become Minnesota’s elite defensive anchor, and this week was awarded his fourth Defensive Player of Year (DPOY) award, putting him in the elite club of hoopers with 4 DPOY’s. I am certain that Connelly is satisfied with the results of that trade, as they are now only six wins away from getting the opportunity to play in the NBA Finals. The Wolves play next tomorrow, here at the Target Center. While ticket prices have skyrocketed, you can catch the game at any of the different bars and spaces hosting watch parties for the game. 

What’s your favorite place to watch a basketball game? Let us know! 

Stay informed, stay connected. 

See you next week! 

-Mateo and the NewPrensa team

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Two Twin-Cities schools persist in the historic fight for decolonized education. Watch here!

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