Debra Keefer Ramage

Debra Keefer Ramage began writing freelance for Southside Pride in 2012, shortly after returning from a 13-year sojourn in England. She covers progressive politics, education, co-ops and neighborhoods. In 2017 she started doing Southside Pride’s restaurant review column, The Dish.


Cam Gordon convenes Housing Forum

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE The Ward 2 Housing Forum presented by City Council Member Cameron Gordon on Feb. 21 was attended by over 70 people. A lot of the attendees were landlords, mostly small scale. The Zoom meeting was hosted by Gordon’s policy aide, Robin Garwood. Co-presenters for the forum…

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the 2021 Weirds

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE 2020 is gone but the Weirds are definitely lingering on. As February rolls in and we congratulate ourselves on surviving the first full month of what could be another very stressful year, we acknowledge two things—one, we’re just past the one-year anniversary of the first publicized…

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2020’s two great losses in local journalism

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Throughout this pandemic, we have been noting businesses in various categories that have closed for good (and a few brave souls who opened businesses!).We’ve noted the impact on restaurants, breweries, retail and services, both vital (like groceries and pharmacies) and not so vital but still pretty…

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The art of winter wellness

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Oh, great. Not only is it winter, but it’s in the peak of a terrible pandemic. And you want to talk about wellness? Is that some kind of sick joke? When the conditions are most stacked against your goal, that’s not when you give up, it’s…

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Holidays are holy

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” Joni Mitchell famously sang. I have been thinking about the many local delights that are gone, or may be soon. In 2016 I was still working for Heart of the Beast Theatre. We put on “La Natividad”…

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Some inspirational folks who are aging gracefully; plus, explosion of senior workouts online

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE First, let us consider the staggering array of online workouts available these days, especially those geared toward seniors who might have mobility issues. Chair workouts and zero-impact aerobics (ZIP) dominate the list. There are stand-alone companies like GrowYoung Fitness (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQn6LXA4_2c), along with the Ys, private health…

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How to observe holidays in the 2020 Weirds

DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE I just finished reading “The Plague” (in translation) by Albert Camus. I didn’t consciously do it as a preparation for writing this, but it had that salutary effect. I say salutary because it’s not an easy or pleasurable read, whether you happen to be in a pandemic…

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Dinkytown in the 2020 Weirds

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Dinkytown, as you know, is not like other neighborhoods. It’s not even like other college campus-adjacent neighborhoods such as those in St. Paul, or in smaller college towns. So Dinkytown’s response to things like the COVID pandemic is also a little bit different. Dinkytown, with its…

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East 42nd Street in the 2020 Weirds

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Although there have been few major disruptions to businesses and organizations along 42nd Street due to either COVID-19 or civil unrest, nowhere has been immune. Business models, hours and other things have changed, and there’s often not the additional capacity to keep the public informed. Southside…

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Midtown Global Market changing with the times

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Midtown Global Market’s vendors are having a tough 2020 for the most part. Like most food halls, food courts and dine-in restaurants, the whole market shut down in March. But that was just the beginning. By the start of April, a few eating and drinking establishments,…

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Minneapolis Schools’ other issues on the back burner, but not CDD!

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE It’s a complex landscape. You have the institutions—district public schools, public-private charter schools, alternative, private and parochial schools, as well as the districts themselves and some contractors that fill in essential services, like food preparation or bus transportation. Then you have the stakeholders—students, families, teachers, other…

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Selby Avenue St. Paul in the 2020 Weirds

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE   The western origin point of Selby Avenue in St. Paul is only three blocks west of the river, but the avenue doesn’t start to get interesting until it crosses Fairview (going east) with a tricky-to-maneuver dogleg. It rambles on straightly eastward to Cathedral Hill and…

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Chicago and 48th Street area in the 2020 Weirds

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Fortunes on the part of Chicago Avenue south of 44th Street have been varied during the COVID-19 pandemic and the period of civil unrest in late May through mid-June. This area is mainly residential, with a concentrated commercial hub between 46th and 49th Streets. There is…

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Chicago Avenue bears the brunt of the storm 2020

BY DEBRA KEEFER RAMAGE Since May 25, 2020, Chicago Avenue in South Minneapolis will forever be associated in history with the “George Floyd uprising.” In fact, the exact location where the murder of Floyd occurred, 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South, is unofficially renamed George Floyd Square (and making that…

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