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Franke+Fiorella awarded at international design competition

Franke+Fiorella, a brand identity design firm in Minneapolis, has received three awards from the international Creativity 43 Print & Packaging Awards, according to a prepared statement from the company.    

The firm, which focuses on Fortune 1000 companies, stood out for its work for clients such as Edmentum and The Mosaic Company.

Franke+Fiorella was awarded for design excellence in the Edmentum Corporate Identity Brandmark and Edmentum Brand Guidelines Brochure, and Mosaic GROW magazine from March 2013, according to company materials.  

Source: Franke+Forella 

Minneapolis dancer featured in the New York Times

A recent New York Times story gives a shout-out to Minneapolis dancer, Aparna Ramaswamy, who recently performed to critical acclaim in New York City, saying she "lit up Pace University's Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts.

The dance review titled, “Pleasing Deities, and the Eyes, With Storytelling Steps From India,” examines performances by  four classical Indian dancers.   

Ramaswamy, who is the co-artistic director, choreographer, and principal dancer of Ragamala Dance company in Minneapolis, “exuded a brisk, eager energy in her hourlong program, 'Sannidhi (Sacred Space),'" reviewer Siobhan Burke wrote. "Joined by four superb musicians, she gorgeously embodied the swooping violin; the plunking mridangam; the wailing, warbling vocals."  

Source: New York Times 

Investors.com reports on local tech startup boom

Investors.com recently reported on what some people describe as a “tech startup boom” in Minneapolis. 

In three years, Coco Coworking, which now has three Twin Cities coworking spaces where entrepreneurs can share resources and ideas, has grown to include 700 members, most of which are tech startups, the story states.  

CoCo has hosted over 4,000 people through its regular meet-ups just this year, according to the story. 

The nonprofit Minnestar, which is also dedicated to cultivating the local tech scene, has seen an increase of over 40 percent in attendance at its MinneDemo events since 2010. 

The story goes on to cite other examples of tech activity in the state. Jeff Pesek, co-founder of the Minneapolis-based website, tech.mn, which tracks the local tech scene, is quoted, saying, “There is a lot of activity here, a lot of signs that the market is evolving and blossoming.” 

Source: Investors.com 

Trendy local apartment projects get highlighted in New York Times story

A recent New York Times story highlights the state of the national real estate market by looking to Minneapolis. 

The city’s trendy North Loop neighborhood has seen plenty of development in the last year, with new apartments filling up fast. But in other parts of the city, like the Lyn-Lake area, some people worry that “apartment construction may outpace demand,” it states. 

The Twin Cities isn’t the only place where that concern is growing as more and more rental projects get underway across the country.  

At the same time, demand is coming from a new group: Kelly Doran, founder of the Doran Companies in Bloomington, saw plenty of interest from Baby Boomers in a recent apartment project, early on. “Empty nesters don’t want to own anymore, don’t want to deal with repairs and don’t want to deal with financing or condo boards; they just want to pay the rent,” he’s quoted as saying, adding, “So it’s not about price, it’s about a lifestyle decision.”

Source: New York Times 

Minneapolis a top choice for twentysomethings

The Greatist list of the country’s top 20 cities for people in their twenties includes Minneapolis.  

Although it can be tough to gauge what specific traits make a city attractive to young people, “There are common factors such as cleanliness, park space, and efficient transit systems,” the website reads.  

This time around, when the website was putting its list together, it delved even deeper, looking at other qualities, such as the ethnic and cultural diversity of a place and whether it’s pedestrian-friendly. The list draws from research from the American College of Sports Medicine and Apartment Guide

Minneapolis is “pretty much perfect for anyone who likes to stay active,” the post states. 

It’s the nation’s fittest city and it ranks highly for its park system, urban forest, bike trails and more.  

Source: Greatist 

Target lands on survey of "most inspiring" in the country

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation ranked fifth on a list of the 25 "most inspiring" companies in the United States, according to a list compiled by management consulting firm Performance and reported in Forbes.
The company polled just under 5,000 consumers, asking them which five companies they found most inspirational, and why they chose those businesses.
Target ranked high on the list for using its profits and brand influence toward philanthropic efforts. Another top reason for Target's ranking was that the company's employees appear passionate about their work. The retailer made last year's list as well, coming in at the number three spot.
Rounding out the top five in this year's list were Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Walmart, and Chick-Fil-A.

Minneapolis on top 10 list for urban forests

Minneapolis is one of the best cities in the country for urban forests, according to nonprofit organization American Forests.
Others named in the top 10 list were Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, New York, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, and Washington D.C.
These cities stood out based on a combination of six main criteria, the group noted, including accessibility of green spaces to the public, urban forest management plans, and civic engagement.
Minneapolis has nearly a million trees, and an urban tree canopy of 31 percent, American Forests reported.
The cities that were chosen are "examples of the type of dedication and leadership needed to improve the health and vitality of urban forests," said Scott Steen, American Forests CEO, in statement about the list.
"As communities across the country manage more and more for the impact of climate change and other critical environmental and social challenges, their urban forests become even more important to the health of their city," he said.
Steen added that each city on the list can serve as a role model for others in the country.

Local artist Michael Gaughan featured in 'Beautiful Decay' magazine

“Michael Gaughan’s Visual Punchlines Bring Comedy To Art,” is the headline of a recent piece from the national art magazine, Beautiful Decay. 

Gaughan, a local artist, “represents a new breed of hyper-creative talents whose work spans an absurd amount of media,” the story states. 

His work is characterized by intense detail, which is tough to come execute, especially in watercolor, his medium of choice. His paintings are “painstakingly rendered for the sake of humor," the story reads. 

Whatever his subject matter, “Gaughan creates with an almost child-like glee. Despite the playfulness in the work, however, there is a sophistication and consistency that separates it from most. This is particularly evident in his highly-technical watercolor paintings,” the story adds.  

Poster series pays tribute to inventions from Minnesotans

A poster series from local creative agency Replace highlights the ingenuity of Minnesota scientists and inventors through history, City Pages reports

Many people probably don’t realize that local creative types developed the first pop-up toaster, the first retractable seat belt, and the first commercial computer to use RAM, the story reads. 

That was the inspiration behind “MN Invents,” the brightly colored, informative poster series that can be viewed online here

Among the other inventions that originated with Minnesota thinkers, according to the story: handles on paper bags, a deep-sea submarine, and a remote-controlled helicopter. 

Report notes that state has recovered all jobs lost from recession

Minnesota employers added 12,200 jobs in August, pushing total jobs in the state over the pre-recessionary total recorded in February 2008, according to a recent report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
The agency noted that Minnesota eclipsed that February 2008 total by 5,100 jobs, and that its current growth rate of 2.3 percent exceeds the national rate of 1.7 percent.
"August's employment numbers mark a major milestone in the recovery of Minnesota's economy," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben in a statement. "We've now recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession, which is one of the many positive indicators pointed to continued economic growth."
The report noted that the only sector to lose jobs over the past year was manufacturing. 

AdWeek names Fallon "top shop" in Minnesota

Advertising industry publication AdWeek recently selected one "top shop" per state, factoring in notable clients, legacy, reputation, and employee count, and Minneapolis-based Fallon got the nod for Minnesota.
In choosing the agencies, the magazine noted that each top shop is "the one you can't help but admire, or envy. The one where you'd like to work—or if you're lucky, where you do work...The one that, more often than not, just gets it right."
Contenders were limited to agencies that were actually founded in their respective states, giving homegrown shops an advantage over the satellite offices of the big networks.
First established in 1981, Fallon has been notable for high-profile campaigns, as well as for spawning several other agencies in the Twin Cities, as Fallon-trained entrepreneurs start their own firms.

Minneapolis in second place nationally for bicycle commuting

In Minneapolis, biking or walking to work is becoming increasingly commonplace, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

The survey shows that 6.9 percent of Minneapolis residents walked to work in 2012, which was an uptick from 5.8 percent in 2011, according to city materials. Another 4.5 percent of residents biked to work, over 3.4 percent the year before.  

“While these estimates are within the margin of error, they show that pedestrian and bicycle commuting in Minneapolis is holding steady and likely growing,” a city web post reads. 

The city “has the second highest per capita bicycle commuting and ninth highest pedestrian commuting” of major US cities, it states. 

Metro Transit adds wi-fi to Northstar Line

Metro Transit recently added a service for commuters on its Northstar Line, which takes people between downtown Minneapolis and Big Lake during rush hours: It debuted wi-fi access on Monday, the Star Tribune reports

The complimentary wi-fi will work on at least one train car for each trip, which will be labeled, according to the Star Tribune blog post. That will usually be the “cab car,” at the end of the train.

Metro Transit spokesperson Brian Lamb is quoted in the piece, saying, "Due to the longer distances traveled on commuter rail, Northstar service is a great match for wi-i.”

Besides wi-fi access, passengers can listen to Minnesota Public Radio’s “Sound Point,” which provides historical background about the areas the train traverses. 

Four Minnesota companies land on list of most innovative businesses

Online technology publication InformationWeek recently released its annual list of 250 companies that excel at utilizing information technology, and four Minnesota-based businesses got a nod.
Eden Prairie-based Virtual Radiologic came in at no. 15 on the list, with Minnetonka-based Digital River at no. 129. Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis, is at 192nd, and Ramsey-based Vision-Ease Lens squeaked in at no. 233.
The magazine looked at U.S. companies that boasted a revenue of $250 million or more, and contenders were required to complete an application that articulated their business technology strategies. Applicants even had to do an essay submission, which must have left many CEOs recalling their college application days.
In unveiling the list, InformationWeek's Editor in Chief, Rob Preston, noted that every enterprise is now a digital business, or needs to become one fast. "The organizations in our ranking are leading the way," he stated.

Target gets buzz for its unique Simplicity Challenge contest

As the popularity of the Minnesota Cup demonstrates, innovation challenges are becoming a definite trend, and now Target is getting into the mix.
As reported by MedCity News and other news outlets, the company recently announced two contests aimed at boosting innovation in healthcare.
The Target Simplicity Challenge will reward the creators of the winning ideas $25,000 apiece, and offer them the chance to partner with Target on developing the concepts. One contest will focus on solutions that help people make positive lifestyle and preventative care choices, while the other will focus on helping people live well with chronic conditions.
MedCity News notes that Target wants small, simple ideas that can substantively solve problems outlined in the contest. The company announced the challenges at the Mayo Clinic Transform Symposium
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